Married to the mob
'The Sopranos' series finale overshadows Game 2
Posted: Monday June 11, 2007 1:35AM; Updated: Monday June 11, 2007 2:49AM
SAN ANTONIO -- A friend recently warned me that you never want to live in two places, that you want to be focused on the job at hand. Nonetheless, all of the writers at my dinner table Sunday night before Game 2 were discussing The Sopranos.
"If they have it on that TV over there,'' suggested one of us, whose name you would recognize if I were mean enough to reveal him, "I'll watch it.''
"You would miss the NBA Finals to watch a television show?'' I asked. As a courtesy I predicted that some blogger with a camera phone would be sure to post a picture of him sitting at a TV set while he was supposed to be covering the game.
"Yeah,'' he said, with an expression that suggested an inherent stupidity to my point of view. "It's the first half. I know what's going to happen. I can write it right now.''
"[It will be] 37-31, San Antonio,'' predicted another renowned writer. Actually it would be 58-33 to San Antonio, so he turned out to be a little bit off. The Spurs spent the opening half treating the Cavaliers like so many victims of Paulie Walnuts. The most pathetic aspect of Cleveland's behavior was how surprised and hurt they looked that this was happening to them, like the lawn maintenance guy who couldn't understand why he was getting beat up, I think it was in Season 5.
LeBron James was benched 2:55 into Game 2 with two fouls and when he returned his team was down 28-17. Through three halves he was having as much impact on the Finals as Johnny Sac in recent weeks. For those of you who don't watch The Sopranos, John Sacramoni died a few weeks ago.
But that analogy isn't fair to LeBron: At halftime of Game 2 he was looking out of place on the same court as the Spurs, as if some kind of intricate TiVo mixup had accidentally transported Vincent Chase to an earlier time slot.
While watching the Cavaliers amount four assists in the first half -- one less than Tim Duncan all by himself -- I found myself wondering who on the court miles below my seat at the top of the artificially-deafening SBC Center was the closest thing to Tony Soprano. The best I could come up with was Gregg Popovich. He is unpredictably charming and occasionally threatening. I doubt very much that he has a psychiatrist, not that there's anything wrong with that, but if there was a Dr. Melfi character in this game it would be Popovich's assistant P.J. Carlesimo, because P.J. shows interest in everybody without being judgmental. I feel very much if I was suffering from panic attacks that P.J. would at least listen to me for a half-minute before saying, "Don't complain to me! I was at Golden State.'' Which, I imagine, is a perspective that would snap me right out of my self-pity.
While Tony Parker was rifling through the Cavaliers' defense like it was the back of a hijacked semi, I was reminded of Christopher Moltisanti. Poor Christopher. We all know what Tony did to him, which was not unlike what Popovich used to want to do to Parker. When I see Parker having matured now to become the most successful point guard of his era, it makes me think that Tony made a big mistake offing his nephew. Christopher could have become a big earner for him.
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