A friend was in from out of town, and with our usual blogmaster-in-chief on the road tonight, there was a chance that tonight’s apparently epic Jazz/Warriors game could have gone uncovered. I can’t have that, even though I didn’t watch the game. And since there’s a good chance the game won’t be covered anywhere else, I’m going to step in and fill the void as best I can. So, to the best of my knowledge here’s what happened: some crazy shit.
The long story short is that the Jazz beat the Warriors, 127-117 in overtime. The long story comparatively long is that this game involved spinal injuries, a big Russian with a silly haircut playing point guard, and Derek Fisher leaving his very ill daughter’s side and then basically winning the game for the Jazz after arriving in the third quarter. Apparently I picked a bad night to
stop sniffing glue stay out late-ish drinking the least expensive beer available. Henry Abbott, luckily, apparently does not have as many scheduling conflicts as we adjunct CSTB-correspondents/social butterflies. “If you didn’t watch Golden State vs. Utah, shame on you,” he writes, as if I didn’t already feel terrible about drinking Gennessee Cream Ale. He adds:
One Utah point guard, Deron Williams, was on the bench with foul trouble one minute into the game. His backup, Dee Brown, played valiantly for a few minutes, before he nearly snapped his back under Mehmet Okur, and was strapped onto a gurney for further examination. Walking off the court with help, he looked like he was about to pass out.
Cue the knight in shining armor, Derek Fisher, who has been away attending to a dire family matter. He arrived at the stadium well after the game was in session and Brown had been wheeled off. He barely stopped walking from the entrance tunnel straight onto the court and into the game, where he made several huge plays…
After the game, Derek Fisher told us that his daughter underwent surgery in New York this morning to repair life-threatening retinoblastoma. Retinoblastoma International reports that “87% of the children stricken with this disease worldwide die.” The surgery went well, then Derek got on a plane to the game.
He told sideline reporter Pam Oliver that he told the story now so that parents would take their children to have them checked. This is what he told TNT’s Pam Oliver:
“It was very, very serious. My daughter’s life was in jeopardy. She has a form of eye cancer called retinoblastoma. And the only reason I’m saying this now is because there are kids out there that are suffering from this disease, and people can’t really identify it. It’s a very rare disease. And I want people out there to take their kids to the opthamalogist, make sure they get their eyes checked and make sure everything’s OK, because we could have lost my little girl had we waited any longer.”
What a guy. What a terrible thing for his family to go through, and what a great piece of news that apparently the surgery has been successful.
Like I said, a bad night — even if one grants that there are good nights, which there may not be — for choosing Genny Cream over a really good basketball game and a home-cooked meal. I even had this pork loin recipe I’d been…look, that’s not important. And neither, essentially, are any items I might write about a game I didn’t watch. I will mention these two things, though:
-The Dee Brown play, which I saw on replay and is not yet on the internet that I can find, is genuinely rugged and awful. Brown was pretty easily the coolest, most genuine and most personable of the NBA rookies I met, while still an employee at Topps, at last year’s NBA Rookie Shoot (the annual event in which most of the posed, goofy photos on most basketball rookie cards are taken). I hope he’s all right, and am frankly amazed he seems to be as all right as he apparently is. Good luck to him on a fast, full recovery.
-The Jazz are much more likable than I’m comfortable with. Utah is a state I dislike on instinct, and their Merit-smoking, not-nice-to-John-Amaechi grump of a coach Jerry Sloan will certainly be putting me through endless suicides and rebounding drills if there is indeed a Gary Larson-style hell in which each individual’s personal un-preferences are taken into account. But his team is surprisingly fun to watch. I can’t even be mad at their players. The generally underutilized Andrei Kirilenko, who had a vintage game tonight (20 points, 9 boards, 5 assists, 6 blocks), is still one of the most enjoyable players in the game, and such an obvious fit for the Nets — especially if they ever make it to Brooklyn: Brighton Beach, stand up! — that I’m already mapping out postseason trades (reunite the Collins Brothers! Free Bernard Robinson!). And Carlos Boozer continues to put up Karl Malone-style numbers (30 and 13 tonight, and a Mailmanian 12 of 14 from the foul line) without the you’ll-take-my-ATV-from-my-cold-dead-hands politics.
Look, I can’t like the Jazz. It’s not in me. But I wouldn’t miss the next game for all the Genny Cream Ale in the world.