THE PLAYOFFS: ROUND 1 IN REVIEW

Guys, I’ve had a long week, and haven’t been as active with the League as I’d like. So this is a combination of two weeks’ worth of scoring adjustments, plus the final League Curse that we forgot about. It will be retroactively applied, starting the second week of Round 1.

Let’s get started not with a bang, but a whisper. Namely, Lisa Leslie whispering responses back as Shaq’s jokes fall on deafer-than-usual ears.

I have never seen a quality Shaqtin without the real crew. So strap in for the worst fucking time of your life!

Let’s dive in!!!!!!!!!!!

SHAQ
-100 Kendrick PERKINS The Legend Himself returns here with a quality series of unfortunate events. I’d like to take a moment to absolve Luke Babbitt of any blame, as (1) he didn’t miss the free throw, and (2) Kendrick Perkins doesn’t have hands.

A signature blunder by a Shaqtin a Fool great should be a slam-dunk clip, with at least a 3.5 Shaqtin rating! But when everyone laughs instead of…talking, Shaq is forced to repeat “Which way did it go?” five times. This is a failure to broadcast effectively.

I have no idea what Lisa Leslie whispers in-between segments. Please email me if you do.

Overall Shaqtin rating: 2.5/4 Shaqs

-100 James HARDEN After Shaq correctly pronounces the word “phenomenal,” we are witness to a quality error by Harden. There are real shades of the classic Otto Porter fuck-up that won Shaqtin that one year!

But while the play itself is strong, it’s all a bit too predictable by now. Shaq thinks Harden is a bitch, and I’m starting to feel like I’ve seen too many of these already.

I have to dock it an additional point as, once again, Shaq’s three co-hosts devolve into undecipherable mumbling and semi-syntantic repetition (“Ball to man! Ball to man!”) Would be a 2.5 normally.

Overall Shaqtin rating: 1.5/4 Shaqs

-100 Al JEFFERSON This is objectively a quality fuck-up by Al Jefferson. It even gets better under replay! The spinning, no-look pass is endearingly bizarre, but a heaviness fills my stomach as the fake studio laughter intensifies. These great clips (another 3.5!) are going to waste.

Lisa Leslie audibly restrains herself from saying “What the hell?” By the way, the normal crew says hell and damn all the time.

“Go to your spot, Jeremy!” really sounds desperate from Shaq. The segment is crumbling, and it’s not his fault!

Overall Shaqtin rating: 2.5/4 Shaqs

-100 Lance STEPHENSON I love this play. I thought about giving it a 4, but it’s so hard to be objective here. Faced with the possibility of on-air silence, Shaq repeats “TRAGIC BRONSON ALERT” 5 times, and “I repeat” 3 times.

And yet, the botched crossover, attempted hustle, and stumbling crawl behind half court — where, contrary to the insistence of some asshole (“He got it”: 3x), Lance could not have legally re-established possession  — is a perfect synecdoche for his entire career. He was born ready, for high school basketball in New York. A true living tragedy.

I just can’t de-couple this one from its abysmal on-set context. It’s a 3.5 for me, which means a 2.5 given Shaq’s awful fake crew.

Overall Shaqtin rating: 2.5/4 Shaqs

-100 Kyle LOWRY I don’t think this is a real Shaqtin, as Kyle Lowry shows a moment of raw emotion for the game of basketball that vastly exceeds anything we ever got out of Shaq.

But the flinch was good, and the bit was so short (7 seconds) that the crew couldn’t ruin it for me any further! Yay!!

Overall Shaqtin rating: 2/4 Shaqs

-100 Kevin SERAPHIN This one is baffling to me. It’s not Kevin’s fault that the kid is an oblivious moron who moves unavoidably into his way. That would 100% be a blocking foul.

And yet…I do enjoy violence against small children. The crew even enhances the impact with their enthusiastic groans! Way to go guys!!! You’re really getting it?

Overall Shaqtin rating: 2.5/4 Shaqs

-100 DeMarcus COUSINS ????????

I don’t think anything really happened here. The crew certainly didn’t have any jokes. Why can’t Shaq end these in a satisfying way?

Overall Shaqtin rating: 0/4 Shaqs

MISC
-20 Matt BARNES Big fight Suspended 1 game.
-15 Greivis VASQUEZ Big fight Fined $15,000.
-10 Giannis ANTETOKOUMPO Big fight Fined $10,000.
-10 Greg MONROE Big fight Fined $10,000.
-20 Blake GRIFFIN Fisticuffs Suspended 1st of 4 games.
FUCK
-100 Phoenix SUNS Chuck. League CURSE

It’s time to get a new Curse, though, for the second week of Round 1, and the remainder of our 2015-16 journey. Here are your nominees for League Curse:

FUCK
6 losses Cleveland CAVALIERS Bed Bugs:

A lot of weird things are happening in Cleveland these days, so I’m going to try to clear the air by asking a series of questions.

Are bed bugs real?

Was Kyrie Irving the only one on his team to get bed bugs? Why didn’t he switch rooms with Dellallvelveledova, no one likes him.

Why did he notice he was getting bit, but not get out of bed? This is his real story about that night.

Kyrie says he counted five bed bugs. Why was he counting them? I would try to leave.

Who booked the hotel?

Do bed bugs really give you “flu-like symptoms”? Or was he nauseated afterwards because he’s a little bitch?

I didn’t know Hilton Hotels were 4 stars. But this one was.

Sorry that wasn’t a question.

Are those 4 Oklahoma City hotel stars, or 4 hotel stars? What’s a 1 hotel star hotel like?

Who booked the fucking hotel?

 

I don’t know what happened, but I bet this doesn’t happen for any other team, like the Miami Heat.

Oh. Never mind.

11 losses Brooklyn NETS Markel Brown:

Usually we try to punish institutional failures rather than personal faults with League Curses, but when Markel Brown said this quote, I felt like I stepped into a time machine. I came out on the other side in the acne-ridden year of 2008, when I still thought Will Ferrell was kind of funny. The movie Semi-Pro, which I’ve never seen, was just released, and

Oh fuck I messed up I’m thinking of Anchorman.

In this movie, circa 2004, someone says “60% of the time, it works every time.” It’s not Ron Burgundy, but it’s one of the other people who doesn’t matter. Did you know the sequel got better reviews than the original? That’s weird because they both fucking suck.

Anyway, thinking of Anchorman reminded me of Semi-Pro reminded me of a simpler time, before the development of statistical science. And why was I thinking of Anchorman?

“I feel like every shot I shoot is going to go in – at least 50% of the time.”

Thanks for the memories, Markel. By the way, you’re shooting 37% on the year.

6 losses Cleveland CAVALIERS Social Media:

I have always been vocal in my distaste for social media. I think things like Facebook and Twitter should only be used for annoying or ignoring other people, not for curating news or inspiring others. Actually, I don’t think they should be used at all.

But LeBron unliked the Cavaliers on Instagram or Twitter or both, and then re-liked it a couple days later, but you know that was on purpose because you have to hit a button, and meanwhile he ignored people asking about it. And he definitely knows about mute or whatever because he has millions of followers. I’d have guessed there’d be a mute function and I have like ten. But then LeBron tweeted a bunch of weird things and he also still likes hanging out with Dwyane Wade and is openly fantasizing about creating a Super Team with Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony and D Wade who, notably, are not Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. And then guys like J.R. have to be cool about it like “that’s a cool team, I hope I’m invited. You know, because I’m LeBron’s teammate every day right now.”

So I guess I just wish that LeBron would try to to fit in instead of out or whatever #TheLand #IPromise #StriveForGreatness #CancerSucks

And yes the #CancerSucks is a real hashtag he used, but I think making it a hashtag is kind of cheaply demeaning. Like, where are the cancer fans?

I think I’ve said enough about social media.

9 losses Houston ROCKETS Stickum:

No one can agree on how to spell this, so I’m going with Stickum. I’ve seen Stickam and Stickem and Stick Em, even in the same article. It’s weird because it’s a real product-name-turned-name-of-the-product-line-for-all-its-competitors-too, sort of like Kleenex, our presenting sponsor today. Remember to only touch yourself with the best: Kleenex-brand tissues.

Anyway, I think everyone is confused why you would want Stickum in basketball, and why Dwight Howard would just readily admit to using it for years, as though that would make things better. But Dwight Howard is a real-life Game of Throne character. He’s a cheater, turncoat, homophobe, and has a zillion bastard children. Sorry I only read the first two books, but that’s probably close enough.

He also wants the NBA to add a cross to its logo. Dwight Howard is an idiot who would blend seamlessly into a 9th-century feudalist society. He is so hopelessly behind his time that I don’t ask his brain to make sense anymore. In fact, I’m done thinking about Dwight Howard for the month.

9 wins Boston CELTICS BLESSING: Evan Turner

Oh yeah, since we’ve already broken our no-individual-players rule, Mike and I wanted to BLESS the Boston Celtics for giving us Evan Turner. He seems like a cool, relatively normal guy who sometimes says funny shit. Thanks, Evan!

And the League Curse goes to:

Drumroll please

The Bed Bugs have it! It’s your Cleveland Cavaliers, owned by nobody!

Congrats everyone, and good (or bad) luck in the rest of the playoffs.

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