Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
There is a phenomenon many of us bloggers call "basketball twitter"-it is what it sounds like. During the nationally televised games, a whole cadre of bloggers and reporters from all kinds of places tweet about their experiences watching. Possibly you've even participated in this. It's pretty nice. But it has some drawbacks.
One of the worst things about the Universal American High School or Junior High School Experience is that what is cool and what isn't cool comes down from some invisible perch on high and is nearly universally enforced. Maybe you were the cool kid, maybe you weren't, but on some level I like to think it was equally confining. You either had to do and think these things, or had to ostracized for not falling in line.
There is, unfortunately, a lot of that to basketball twitter. Not in a mean way, really. In large part, basketball twitter, and basketball blogs and whatever has halted, perhaps permanently, the ESPNization of everything, and we should be thankful about that.
But it is, or can be, super, super elitist. If you don't appreciate what it appreciates, you're out. If you don't see basketball the way it sees basketball, you're out. If you're a casual fan, you still want to talk about "ringz", you still want to talk about "clutch", you don't appreciate the hyper modern ideal of win or blow it up...you're probably out.
Last night, I had the distinct pleasure of reading basketball twitter complaining about having to watch Mavs-Spurs. Some of them were decent enough to bemoan the horrible event only because of what it used to be-like one half season of the Mavs being not-that-competitive was more than any human should have to bear. Others?
Sometimes it seems like basketball twitter has internalized one of the worst ideas of the last few years, invented by the players themselves. Namely, that only good teams should have good players. That a good player staying with a bad team is some kind of horrible sentence, tantamount to athletic suicide. That good players deserve good teams. And f--- everyone else.
The message of last night-hardly the first time this has happened-is that good fans should only have to watch good games. You see it every time it's not the Thunder, Clippers, Spurs, or Heat, or one of the teams who are amassing exciting young talent.
If you're not a fan of one of those teams, no one should have to watch your guys play.
The irony of all this, of course, is that the Mavericks have finally turned into a pretty good team. Not great, not championship caliber, but they're 5-2 in March, 13-7 since the beginning of February. More than that, they're an almost guaranteed exciting game. Outside of a blowout loss to Houston on the third, and a blowout of Minny on the 10th, Mavs games come down to the last minute basically every damn time.
Minny aside, the combined points separating the Mavs and their opponents in 6 wins since Feb 22 is 25, just under 5 points a game. Houston aside, the combined points they've lost by in 5 losses in that span is 16, just over 3 per.
It's always exciting. In fact, though Mavs fans are as exhausted with this painful season as anyone else, the fact of the matter is, of late, the Mavs have been very nearly magic. You tell me how a team which started Mike James, Jae Crowder and got 6 points and a board from starter Chris Kaman was in a position to win against a Spurs team that is 50-16, missing only Tony Parker, on a night in which Tim Duncan had 28-19 and Dirk went 6-16. And without Shawn Marion. You tell me how they rebounded from an absolute decimation in a crucial game, to keep their faint playoff hopes alive by outpacing Houston on a night James Harden got 16 free throws to the Mavericks' 14, and on a night in which they had to shoot 54%, 42% from three to win by four.
I'm sorry, basketball twitter, that you had to watch the team I love put up another thrilling chapter in the longest continuous basketball rivalry in sports. I'm sorry it inconvenienced you, I'm sorry you didn't get to see one of the few teams that everybody approves us, while our plebian teams-of which there number probably 20-just derp around, offending everyone's sight. I'm sorry our earnest expressions of love for our team are, for some of you, only fodder for retweets with an additional "AHKSFASFASKLHF!!!!" or "I can't even..." I'm sorry that we haven't quite reached the point where all the good players are on only a few teams and only those teams show up on your TV every night
For the most part, I love basketball twitter. It's full of hilarious people, with great insight into the game. And I don't think even those people who are the worst offenders MEAN anything by it. In some ways, they really are the art scholars at the art museum, they do know more than many of they rest of us, and it is their job to think about something which for most of us can only be a hobby.
But there is a reason that so many art museums are free and open to the public and there is no team in the league that does not have fans who live or die by how they do. If you don't live in the city your team lives in, if you don't have league pass, those nights that your team is on national tv are special, special nights, I remember them well. So try not to be a jerk about how we watch, or why, and try not to be a jerk about the fact that you have to, too. Of course we recognize that there are better teams, more exciting matchups, but we love THIS team, we're excited about THIS matchup.
If we're not writing to help enjoy, what in god's name are we doing?