CLEVELAND -- So it turns out it wasn’t Draymond Green’s fault after all. It was the Cleveland Cavaliers who didn’t understand their role in our little school play.
Or maybe it was the NBA office for fixing the whole thing to break into the lucrative but underserved conspiracy nutbar market (Adam Silver, grab a seat and explain yourself, or send Tim Frank to take the throttling for you). Or maybe it was Joe Lacob tempting fate with the Green jersey he wore at courtside, or the Oakland’s A’s, for putting on a more convincing show for Green than the Warriors would have had been allowed inside the building.
Or maybe it was the heavy ear of Disney Corp., trying to squeeze the entertainment turnip dry in that time-honored television way. Or maybe it was Tim Donaghy, disgraced/defrocked official who told Sports Illustrated he thought the league was performing a little shenanigannery with the result to extend the series.
Bastards all, I’d say. Utter and irredeemable bastards.
But what is done is done. Whomever must be punished for this must be given the 21-pipewrench salute, because the NBA Finals have been reduced to The War Of The Tinfoil Hats.
Silver has managed to fail in one of his most significant tasks to date – making the sport’s fan base believe in Occam’s Razor – that the simplest explanation is usually the true one (Yay William of Ockham, you genius you).
I mean, we shall never truly know if Green’s suspension led to the Warriors collapsing in a heap (though we doubt it) or freed Kyrie Irving to make three more shots than he took, or whatever the hell the number was, or gave LeBron James the strength to unclog his nostrils on the collective voice of Oracle Arena. Frankly, the Cavs looked pretty damned clean from here.
But the suspension, the subsequent game, and the fact that we are all back in Northeast Ohio arguing again over who has to cater the parade brings out the lunatic element in force.
And no, it is not a “fringe,” as Brian Sabean once famously said, but a full-on tsunami of shorted synapses, tortured logic, shadows on the bedroom wall specialists and people who host angry debates between the voices in their own heads during breaks at the office.
And Silver, who doesn’t like to dip his toe into the loon lagoon often for fear of giving it legitimacy, would probably do us all well to get behind a podium and say, “Look, I can tell you we’re on the up-and-up, but then someone would see that I had the Cavs-plus six in Game 5 and . . . oh, wait. Wrong notes.”
Actually, there is nothing he can really do. People who believe that The Matrix was a documentary are going to believe that no matter what. People still think we didn’t land on the moon, and that the earth is flat, and that more guns means less violence. For them, Occam’s razor is just a handy device for slitting someone’s else wrist.
But even if this is some mad whirling conspiracy concocted by Silver on behalf of any number of unseen beneficiaries (and, though I shouldn’t have to say this, I will, it isn’t), it does broaden the audience for Game 6 here, and eyeballs are eyeballs, even if some of them see three-headed unicorns with snakes crawling from each eye working at the bank while dealing blackjack.
Besides, the series cannot truly be fixed unless the Warriors play well and lose – probably on a last-second jumper by Stephen Curry that is shot out of mid-air by a crazen fan as in the Hill Street Blues episode of approximately 800 years ago, right about the time that William of Ockham pitched forward in his gruel for the last time.
This much is sure. The Warriors have won by 15 and 33, lost by 30, won by 11 and now lost by 15 at home. Cleveland is a difficult out, period, and that’s no conspiracy, kids. That’s the Short Attention Span Theatre of basketball.
And frankly, I’d much rather see Silver figure out how to make more than 40 percent of the postseason games end with a margin of single digits. If he can fix games that way, he can wear a wizard’s hat and chant incantations backwards while using a giant condor as a ventriloquist’s dummy for all I care.