View Full Version : Sundown for the Suns!

02-27-2011, 01:10 AM
Sundown for the Suns!
Written by IndyHoya

Link (http://www.pacersdigest.com/wordpress/?p=432)


Salutations 55ers!

The Basketball Gods were unkind to us Friday. Utah’s Al Jefferson couldn’t miss in the second half. He wound up with 30 points. Paul Milsap had 23 and pulled down 18 rebounds. Andrei Kirilenko had 14. Our bigs couldn’t match that and we lost 95-84. It wasn’t pretty.

Our guys weren’t together at all. We only had 10 assists the entire game. We were 2 of 10 from the 3-point line. We were outrebounded 56-46. Utah had 19 offensive boards. Tyler Hansborough was 1-11; A. J. Price was 3-10; Roy Hibbert was 6-16; Paul George was 0-4.

Yet, as bad as it all was, we still could have won it. And that says something about us. A couple of weeks ago we would have lost that game by 25 points.

Sunday, we have that rarest of things – an afternoon game at Conseco. We play at high noon. The churchgoing among you will have just enough time to shed your Sunday best, boogie down to the arena, and find your ways to your seats. The pagans among you will have to get up early to get your pre-game buzz on. Whatever your affiliation, saints and sinners – brothers in basketball – we will all converge on Sections 101 and 102 to see our boys test their mettle another good team.

Our foes Sunday are the Phoenix Suns. “Phoenix” — a city named for a mythical bird prone to throwing itself into a fire, doffing its tattered old plumage, and then emerging from the ashes reinvigorated. And the “Suns” – fiery celestial stars, conjuring up images of burning orbs of gas, rising over purple mountaintops and glaring down, radiant over cactus-strewn desert.

Out with the Jazz, in with the Suns.

Such is reality in the NBA. Now it’ll be Steve Nash, Vince Carter, Josh Childress, and Channing Frye that we need to stop Sunday.

The last time we played Phoenix was a road game. In fact, it was our fourth road game in six nights. We were tired. Despite this, the Pacers led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter. Unfortunately we couldn’t hold off a Suns’ second-half rally (which was capped by a 31-21 advantage in the fourth quarter) and we wound up losing a game that we definitely should have won. The final score was 105-97.

In that loss Channing Frye scored a season-high 29 points. He made five of eight 3-pointers and put the Suns ahead for good with a foul-line jumper that made it 90-88 midway through the fourth. Jared Dudley had 12 points for the Suns, and Steve Nash had 12 points and 11 assists. Jason Richardson threw in a ton of points too. But, happily, he’s no longer with Phoenix. Now Vince Carter’s there.

Beating the Suns isn’t going to be easy. They’re coming off a commanding road win over Toronto in which perennial Pacer-killer Vince excelled. He had 17 points and 6 steals in that win over Toronto. So, me hearties, Phoenix has a lot of people that we’re going to have to contain.

We gotta show up and give the Suns no quarter.

PTO Doings! The strange assemblage of zanies that constitutes the Pacers Tailgating Organization will be meeting early – around 10:00 AM or so — to tune up for Phoenix. Our esteemed President, Aaron “Brickyard” Coleman and his oft-indicted cohort, GM/VP Casey O’Brien have announced that the PTO will be “brunching” pre-game in the Anthem lot on the south east side of the Arena. This should be interesting and those who haven’t attended in the past should consider doing so.

Personally, I have difficulty envisioning precisely what a PTO “brunch” will look like. However, being familiar with PTO’s membership roster, methinks it unlikely that it will be a civilized conclave of croissant munchers and mimosa sippers.

Coleman has intimated that some of the Ladies Auxiliary (Red Foster’s main squeeze, Jess, among them) will be bringing some tasty comestibles, so that’s a plus. I still have warm recollections of some chili Jess contributed to the PTO larder what now seems eons ago, so there are definite intimations that something unusual and possibly good is in store. Coleman seems to be trying to elevate the tone of the Meeting too. My emailed invitation from him states that black ties and gowns are optional.

I’m taking no chances. A neoprene wetsuit might be highly recommended.

Kielbeze might also be filming the festivities, so be sure to paint up and wear your Pacers glad rags.


In the past, in an effort to provide my famous Veteran Leadership to Area 55, it has been my practice to pepper our Newsletter with information about the opposition and occasionally other cognitive tidbits — you know, stuff like the dope on arrests of PTO members, info who’s been bumping whom on Basketball Wives, and the latest misteps and foibles of NBA owners. This is all well and good. However, due to time constraints and in an effort to elevate the content of the Newsletter just a tad I have decided to depart from this standard format and, maybe just this once, get a little artsy-fartsy.

See, this is Indiana. This is where basketball is king. This is where every garage and barn has a hoop hanging on it and everybody either plays or has some sort of an opinion about basketball.

Basketball is an amazing sport. There’s no one way to play it. Its patterns and convolutions are kaleidoscopic. Its coaches are constantly innovating. Trades are always being made. It’s always in a state of flux.

Players are better than ever. Nowadays almost everyone can stuff, dribble the ball effortlessly between legs, and put that noble sphere through the iron rim in all sorts of myriad variations of trajectories and patterns. Winning games can elevate spirits. Losing them can induce dangerous bouts of depression.

Basketball is a holy game. In Indiana it is something that is life-promoting and vital.

Basketball is why we are in Area 55. Our love of this game influences us. Our Hoosier upbringing and affinity for how the game should be played drives us — makes us care when the Pacers win or lose. It makes us anxious and concerned when a foreign team, representing a foreign city, comes to our state to challenge our team’s skills.

Basketball is combat by proxy. It is art. It is theater. It is virtue. It is pain. It is a microcosm of life. Basketball is beauty.

That being the case, for once, instead of detailing more fun facts about Marcin Gortat’s latest haircut, the merits of Phoenix’s Aaron Brooks trade, or Steve Nash’s Canadian roots, I thought I’d dig around and find out what poets have said about basketball.

Somewhat surprisingly, I didn’t find much that I thought was any good. However, I did find a few poems I liked. So indulge me here 55ers. I sort of liked these little pearls and wanted to share them.

First there’s this one by B. H. Fairchild:

Old Men Playing Basketball

The heavy bodies lunge, the broken language
of fake and drive, glamorous jump shot
slowed to a stutter. Their gestures, in love
again with the pure geometry of curves,

rise toward the ball, falter, and fall away.
On the boards their hands and fingertips
tremble in tense little prayers of reach
and balance. Then, the grind of bone

and socket, the caught breath, the sigh,
the grunt of the body laboring to give
birth to itself. In their toiling and grand
sweeps, I wonder, do they still make love

to their wives, kissing the undersides
of their wrists, dancing the old soft-shoe
of desire? And on the long walk home
from the VFW, do they still sing

to the drunken moon? Stands full, clock
moving, the one in army fatigues
and houseshoes says to himself,*pick and roll,
and the phrase sounds musical as ever,

radio crooning songs of love after the game,
the girl leaning back in the Chevy’s front seat
as her raven hair flames in the shuddering
light of the outdoor movie, and now he drives,

gliding toward the net. A glass wand
of autumn light breaks over the backboard.
Boys rise up in old men, wings begin to sprout
at their backs. The ball turns in the darkening air.

And there’s this one that I really liked.. It’s by a guy named Edward Hirsch.

Fast Break

In Memory of Dennis Turner, 1946-1984

A hook shot kisses the rim and
hangs there, helplessly, but doesn’t drop,
and for once our gangly starting center
boxes out his man and times his jump
perfectly, gathering the orange leather
from the air like a cherished possession
and spinning around to throw a strike
to the outlet who is already shoveling
an underhand pass toward the other guard
scissoring past a flat-footed defender
who looks stunned and nailed to the floor
in the wrong direction, trying to catch sight
of a high, gliding dribble and a man
letting the play develop in front of him
in slow motion, almost exactly
like a coach’s drawing on the blackboard,
both forwards racing down the court
the way that forwards should, fanning out
and filling the lanes in tandem, moving
together as brothers passing the ball
between them without a dribble, without
a single bounce hitting the hardwood
until the guard finally lunges out
and commits to the wrong man
while the power-forward explodes past them
in a fury, taking the ball into the air
by himself now and laying it gently
against the glass for a lay-up,
but losing his balance in the process,
inexplicably falling, hitting the floor
with a wild, headlong motion
for the game he loved like a country
and swiveling back to see an orange blur
floating perfectly through the net.

I liked this one too. It’s sort of famous and comes from the novelist, John Updike

Ex-Basketball Player

Pearl Avenue runs past the high-school lot,
Bends with the trolley tracks, and stops, cut off
Before it has a chance to go two blocks,
At Colonel McComsky Plaza. Berth’s Garage
Is on the corner facing west, and there,
Most days, you’ll find Flick Webb, who helps Berth out.

Flick stands tall among the idiot pumps—
Five on a side, the old bubble-head style,
Their rubber elbows hanging loose and low.
One’s nostrils are two S’s, and his eyes
An E and O. And one is squat, without
A head at all—more of a football type.

Once Flick played for the high-school team, the Wizards.
He was good: in fact, the best. In ’46
He bucketed three hundred ninety points,
A county record still. The ball loved Flick.
I saw him rack up thirty-eight or forty
In one home game. His hands were like wild birds.

He never learned a trade, he just sells gas,
Checks oil, and changes flats. Once in a while,
As a gag, he dribbles an inner tube,
But most of us remember anyway.
His hands are fine and nervous on the lug wrench.
It makes no difference to the lug wrench, though.

Off work, he hangs around Mae’s Luncheonette.
Grease-gray and kind of coiled, he plays pinball,
Smokes those thin cigars, nurses lemon phosphates.
Flick seldom says a word to Mae, just nods
Beyond her face toward bright applauding tiers
Of Necco Wafers, Nibs, and Juju Beads.

The Miami Herald held a poetry contest open to all fans, pro and con, interested in expressing their thoughts about LeBron James’ coming to Miami. Submissions were limited to 6 lines or less (“6” being LeBron’s jersey number, y’see).

Anyhow, I liked a couple of the limerick submissions that emanated from Ohio:

LeBron Limerick #1

King James, beloved at “The Q” Boiled up a media stew. He kept Gilbert guessing, With Dan’s mind he was messing. His fans now in Cleveland are few.

LeBron Limerick #2

There once was a man named LeBron, Who led Cleveland on and on. When it came time to sign, He said things were fine, Then poof, to Miami — he was gone.

In my final meanderings, I also found this little gem. Author’s unknown.

Just Like Magic

Just like Magic.
Drive to the hole.
Draw the defense.
Dish the ball.
Shoot the three.
Respect the game .
Make it to the hall of Fame
Just like Magic

And of course, there this:

Basketball Jones
By Cheech and Chong


Basketball Jones, I got a Basketball Jones
Got a Basketball Jones, oh baby, oo-oo-oo

Yes, I am the victim of a Basketball Jones
Ever since I was a little baby, I always be dribblin’
In fac’, I was de baddest dribbler in the whole neighborhood
Then one day, my mama bought me a basketball
And I loved that basketball
I took that basketball with me everywhere I went
That basketball was like a basketball to me

I even put that basketball underneath my pillow
Maybe that’s why I can’t sleep at night
I need help, ladies and gentlemens
I need someone to stand beside me
I need, I need someone to set a pick for me at the free-throw line of life
Someone I can pass to
Someone to hit the open man on the give-and-go
And not end up in the popcorn machine
So cheerleaders, help me out

{cheerleaders sing repeatedly…}
(Basketball Jones, I got a Basketball Jones)
(I got a Basketball Jones, oh baby, oo-oo-ooo)

{while Tyrone Shoelaces sings/speaks…}

Oh, that sounds so sweet
Sing it out
C’mon Coach Booty, Red Blazer, sing along with me
That be bad, honky
I want everybody in the whole stadium to stand up and sing with us
Oh yeah, sing it out like you’re proud
All right, everybody watchin’ coast-to-coast, sing along with us
Bill Russell, sing along with us
Chick Hearn, sing along with us
Chris Schenkel, don’t sing nothin’

Oh, it feels so good
Gimme the ball
I’ll go one-on-one against the world, left-handed
I could stuff it from center court with my toes
I could jump on top of the backboard, take off a quarter, leave fifteen cents change
I could, I could dribble behind my back I got more moves than Ex-Lax I’m bad I could dribble with my tongue
Here I go down court, try to stop me You can’t stop me ’cause I
got a Basketball Jones
Here I come That’s my hook shot with my eyebrow
Yeah, I could dunk it with my nose I’m, I’m bad as King Kong, gimme the ball I’m hot, I’m hot as…,
I’m hot as…, I’m hot as… uh Uh, uh, uh, uh

(Basketball Jones, I got a Basketball Jones, I got a Basketball Jones, Basketball Jones)

It’s an odd thing that there isn’t more good poetry written about basketball. If anybody has anything better, let me know.


That’s it for tonight, 55ers. Let’s show up loud and proud Sunday and help Roy & Crew send the Suns back to that waterless arid waste from whence they came.

Go Pacers! Go Area 55!

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