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Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs, April 15 [2017)

What year is it?

Boy…I am tired.

Nothing more humiliating than having to look up the year.

For a second there, I wasn’t sure.

’17?  But we just had an election.

So it’s ’18?

No no…the election was in ’16.

So it’s 2017.

So, obviously, I’m not really qualified to be reviewing ANYTHING at this point.

But we come back to sports…after a long hiatus.

And my home team:  the Spurs.

If you’ve read me before, you’ve probably gathered that I had a relatively sheltered youth.

Lou Reed sang about such a thing in an early Velvet Underground demo.

Other writers (French, perhaps) might refer to it as provincial.

My existence has been completely provincial (if we are to measure America by the New Yorks, the Los Angeles(es), and the Chicagos).

I suppose if I were from Houston, then I could make a case for not being provincial.

But it would be merely academic.

Houston is still just a “numbers” city.

It’s big…sprawling…a “concrete nightmare” (one very wise author called it)…but not a hub of any sort of culture.

So we are told.

[by the people in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago]

All of which is to say that the Spurs (my Spurs) are not the ONLY Spurs in the world.

Nay.

Far from it.

Consider for a moment the Tottenham Hotspur F.C..

Most Americans (USA) need a translation of that last part.

It stands for Football Club.

Europeans and most other inhabitants of the planet will find this necessity for explanation ridiculous.

But we press on.

Tottenham’s soccer team (what the rest of the world calls “football”) are known as the Spurs.

Kind of how The Velvet Underground were known as the Velvets.

[affectionately…by those for whom brevity was a cool essential]

And Tottenham is not just a podunk soccer team.

Nay again.

They play in the Premier League.

That’s the BIG TIME in the British Isles.

Isles?

Well, that’s a whole other problem of definition…

But really, England rules the roost when it comes to the Premier League.

Twenty teams from England.

And one from Wales.

[Cardiff!  Cardiff!  Cardiff!]

Ok, not so much…

So we give the obligatory nod to Swansea City.

And lament for Dublin…and all of Ireland…along with the whole of Scotland.

That strange situation in Britain.

Where you better spend your Scottish notes before entering England…because you will be looked at like you just came from Mars if you try to pass them off…even in Newcastle (or thereabouts).

So, then…

Where the hell is Tottenham?

North London.

Aye!

Not too terribly far from Camden Town.

Five “miles” (as we say).

Close to Waltham Forest.

[oy…wasn’t that the UFO place???]

{In full disclosure, I should mention that my distant relatives were court musicians for Henry VIII…emigrated from Venice}

Continuing, we can’t pass up this opportunity to touch on British demography.

As such, Tottenham was 22.3% “White British” in 2011 (ok…).

And 27.7% “Other White” (a plurality).

Other White?!?

What the fuck does that mean???

Certainly not a problem we have in the United States.

In the United States (generally speaking), if you have stopped speaking with an accent (which diverges from your geographic region) and you are white, then you have lost your ethnicity.

So me, for instance…

Sure…I have a bit of Italian…a bit of French.

But I am overwhelmingly English.

This was something of an embarrassment to me for some time.

Indeed, no ethnicity is as “invisible” in the United States as “English”.

In the U.S., English is merely a language.

To be used…and abused.

But it’s certainly not an ethnicity.

Not anymore.

It’s not even a heritage.

If you are proud to be English in the USA, then you are a white supremacist.

There is very little hyperbole in that statement.

Mercifully, I have recently found that I am much more Irish and Scottish than I had previously known.

[previously assumed to be “not at all”]

N.B.  Irish is still a proud ethnicity in the U.S., but, in general, only in New York and Chicago.  Scottish is mixed into a mongrel label called Scots-Irish (which is like saying Kenyan-Nigerian…sort-of).

So…

I have no ethnicity.

In general.

I’m just “white”.

And I’m supposed to feel “bad” about this.

Even though I had no say in how or whom I was born.

I just appeared one day.

And I was (and continue to be) white.

Which brings us back to “Other White”.

On first glance, I mistook this to be an English slight of the Irish and Scottish.

But then it sinks in.

The good old EU.

Polish, Czech, Bulgarian…etc. etc. etc.

In Tottenham, “Other White” rules.

Which means, the European Union rules Tottenham.

Immigrants have come seeking a better future.

And at least they’ve gotten a football club out of it!

[panem et circenses]

If I was a really devious fucker, I’d end this article thusly:  San Antonio 111, Memphis 82.

But I’m feeling feisty.

All of this is to “frame” my hometown.

Cities in America go by a different set of criteria than in England.

Let’s name the buggers:

-Arsenal (Your Arsenal!) [London]

-Bournemouth [a small city in the smallest two-tier county in England (by population)]

-Burnley [Lancashire County…or is it County Lancashire?]

-Chelsea [London…uh oh]

-Crystal Palace [London…again]

-Everton [God bless…Liverpool!]

-Hull City [East “Riding” of Yorkshire…]

-Leicester [East Midlands…]

-Liverpool [wow…London 3, Liverpool 2!]

-Manchester City [I must admit…my favorites…though I know nothing…about anything]

-Manchester United [Manchester and Liverpool all knotted up at 2]

-Middlesbrough [North (Riding?) Yorkshire…]

-Southampton [Hampshire]

-Stoke City [Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire]

-Sunderland [Tyne and Wear?  This English geography is boggling me mind!]

-Swansea City [the aforementioned odd (Welsh) man/duck out]

-Tottenham Hotspur [our sub-subject]

-Watford [Hertfordshire]

-West Bromwich Albion [West Midlands 1, East Midlands 1]

-West Ham United [London…for fucksakes!]

Ok, so London has four Premier League “football” teams.

And what about Birmingham?  Newcastle?  Sheffield?  Bristol?  Brighton?  York?

Ok, I’m beginning to reach there…

But let’s look at England’s biggest cities.

In “localities” (WTF?) we can see that Leeds has been shafted.

But Birmingham is the biggest loser.

It seems.

In terms of “Primary Urban Areas” (WTGDF?!?).

And, there again, Leeds.

Sheffield, as noted.

And Teeside (!).  (?)

But the Premier League, I gather (not very securely), has a system of “promotion and relegation”.

As august as the league seems, it only dates back to 1992.

[if you can believe that!]

Ok, that’s my 1074-word introduction to a basketball game…in the U.S….which wasn’t even close.

All based on the Spurs’ doppelgänger across the pond.

If you’re still with me at this point, you might want to have your head examined.

But we press on.

Briefly.

This was no contest.

Early on.

Memphis looked great.

Spurs closed the gap.

Then the Spurs did a hammer-down on the Grizzlies.

And it is not at all a footnote to mention that San Antonio and Memphis are (last time I checked) the two “fattest” (as in “obese”) cities in the U.S..

Hey, I did my part…worked out twice today! 🙂

And, if there is any good news in the second-to-last anecdote, it is that San Antonio recently went from #1 fattest to #2.

And Memphis ascended the lard throne.

Which is to say that San Antonio and Memphis are each, in their own ways, SAD cities.

Not “binge eating” cities, but more like the provincial category I mentioned earlier.

Which brings us to the sports “caste system” in the U.S.

San Antonio is what’s known as a “small market team”.

Or, at least, that used to be the case.

There are a few other NBA cities which share this label.

And this label can be “verified” by the lack of any other major sports franchises in the city.

Let’s list the “small market” cities represented solely by the NBA (and foregone by the NFL and MLB):

-Orlando [but hey…they have Disney World, right?  But they play in the Amway Center…’nuff said]

-Portland [Oregon…but at least it’s more excitement than Maine, right?]

-Salt Lake City [appropriately named “the Jazz”…after all those great Mormon bebop musicians]

-San Antonio [yay!  (crickets…)]

-Sacramento [yikes…well, at least they moved out of the Sleep Train Arena (Zzzz…)]

-Memphis [our opponents…  (lonesome blues…)]

-Oklahoma City [gotta like these guys…because this is the only pro action in the whole state…God bless ’em]

So San Antonio = 1.

Memphis = 1.

1, on this scale, is not good.

1 is the sound of crickets.

[the loneliest number…]

In comparison (across the three major sports):

-New York City = 6

-Los Angeles = 6

-San Francisco Bay Area = 5 (shortly to be 4…in 2020…as Las Vegas finally gets 1)

-Chicago = 4

So you get the picture.

These are big fucking cities.

Like London.

For our purposes.

But there are some other relatively pathetic American locales…and we’d like to commiserate with them for a moment:

-Nashville

-Buffalo

-San Diego

-Jacksonville

-Green Bay

Back to the game…

Kawhi Leonard, my favorite player, scored 32 quiet points.

And what an appropriate word.

“Walk softly and carry a big stick,” said Teddy Roosevelt.

Leonard is that kind of bloke.

He will beat you.  Pick your pocket.  Put up 30.  Before you can even really react.

He is the consummate professional.

Always improving.

No one saw this coming.

Not the Spurs’ scouts.

Not the front office.

This kid is now a man.

And he barely rustled a leaf on the way to his part in this thorough shellacking.

LaMarcus Aldridge was great as always.

But “the others”, as Charles Barkley puts it, were huge.

Dewayne Dedmon.

8 rebounds.  In 18 minutes.

And Tony Parker (Vive la France!)…

A great, gritty performance!

18 points.

Danny Green.

4 blocked shots.  At the shooting guard position!

David Lee and Pau Gasol were both +22 while on the court.

Which doesn’t say much for Memphis’ plan of bringing Zach Randolph off the bench.

Davis Bertans was cool as a Latvian cucumber while hitting his only 3-point look from the corner.

Patty Mills brought that Aussie energy.  Even in his ubiquitous towel-waving.

Kyle Anderson was a quiet +17.  Very efficient.  Smart player.  The Spurs’ length is bothering Memphis in some respects.

Bryn Forbes was good, if nervous, in his first playoff basketball.  Congrats, rookie!

Jonathon Simmons always brings the highlights.  A great dunk.  And a nasty block!

And Manu Ginobili.  +18…and a banged-up eye socket.  Hope he’s alright!

For the Grizzlies, Marc Gasol was scary-good in the first half.

But the Spurs found a way to slow him down.

There were few highlights for the Grizzlies.

Wayne Selden had a pretty nasty dunk!

And JaMychal Green hit a 3 (didn’t know he had that in his game).

But Zach Randolph was a -39 (!) while on the court.

Yikes!!!

The Grizzlies just seem overmatched.

It’s a shame for them that the extremely-gritty Tony Allen is not available.

I respect the hell outta that guy.

Always plays his butt off!

On a lighter note, it seems the Grizzlies are veering towards aristocracy in their HR needs.

James Ennis III.  Ok…

And Wade Baldwin IV…  What?!?

Seriously!

These guys need to build a castle on Beale Street and get a prince or a duke to round out the bunch.

Or they could trade the whole squad for the King (Lebron).

But that would be weird…”the King”…in Memphis???

Some things are just not meant to be 🙂

-PD

2 responses to “Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs, April 15 [2017)

  1. Excellent Paul, First you start with English Football then it is the American equivalent Brilliant I forgive you for Supporting Spurs I am a Gunners Fan who are going through a Bad Time at the Moment. I must admit Spurs are playing really well I like your postings as much as your Film reviews Excellent.

    Laurence

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