Monday, May 11, 2015

Did Paul Pierce Tell Chris Broussard “Know Your Role and Shut Your Mouth”?

Did Paul Pierce “diss” ESPN’s Chris Broussard in the aftermath of Saturday’s Game Three last second 103-101 Washington victory over the Atlanta Hawks?

Serving as sideline reporter for the broadcast, the NBA Insider had kiddingly asked The Truth if he’d intended to utilize the backboard on the game-winning field goal attempt …

… if he called “bank”?

Not missing a beat (but cutting his eyes at CB?), Pierce proclaimed that he’d called “game,” practically chanting his clever bit of trash talk and moving on even as Broussard seemed to be posing another question. (The Star of the Day was soon the property of NBATV’s David Aldridge.)

So, was Paul genuinely miffed at the question, or was the wily vet simply seizing a moment to exude the sort of ostentatious confidence that’s been driving his team throughout this playoff run?

I have no idea if Paul Pierce called that shot off the glass, either aloud or just in his mind.

I have no doubt that, one way or the other, he did deem the game over …

… and not when he released his shot, either.

In the mind of the Hall-of-Famer-to-be, the outcome of the game was conceded when the responsibility for stopping him was switched from 6’7” Kyle Korver to 6’1” and flagpole thin Dennis Schroder. Kudos to Calvin Murphy-lookalike Will Bynum for inducing the defensive adjustment. The help defense of Korver came from the wrong side while that of Kent Bazemore was a split-second late.

As for the postgame shenanigans, I’m beginning to have a second thought or two. Perhaps that facial expression was more a Cheshire grin accompanied by an eyebrow raise.

Do you suppose the hero of the hour mistook Broussard for Jonathan Coachman, who was so often on the receiving end of such looks (and much worse) from a certain Mr. Johnson?

On the Undercard

Soon-to-be-former ESPN talking-head Bill Simmons offered an interesting take on the San Antonio Spurs last week during the sure-to-be-soon former (or at least renamed) Grantland Basketball Hour.

He compared the Popovich crew to the WWE’s John Cena, a big star and frequent champion whose losses seem to solidify the stature of the next up-and-comer. He likened recent playoff defeats to OKC and the Griz to this year’s loss to the Clippers, who subsequently have been having their way with Houston.

The rasslin’ angle works particularly well in this season’s situation, since Game Seven in LA had one of those “Dusty Finishes” where a timekeeper’s error tipped off the Clips (the fiendish Mat Barnes, in particular, a “heel” if ever there was one, huh?) to the play the Spurs had diagrammed. A Dusty Finish, named in honor of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, is intended to create the intended outcome while causing enough uncertainty to keep the loser looking strong and capable moving forward.

The role to which Simmons analogy was alluding is an old and respected position to “the boys” who occupy a professional wrestling locker room. In the parlance of the trade, the loser of a match “does the job” – “jobs out” to his opponent. Hence, the “jobber” puts over (helps establish the credibility of) the other guy. At one point there was even a faction of perennial losers known as “The Job Squad.”

Here’s my all-time favorite Jobber – who had the best-ever jobber gimmick!

A fight card, even one of the staged variety, requires an enticing main event. Challengers to the likes of Cena, Hulk Hogan or Bruno Sammartino must be made to look formidable. Therefore, some of the jobbers vanquished during a run to the top of the charts need to have a little cache.

What evolved in rasslin’ promotions was a role called the JTTS – the Jobber to the Stars. This was the guy who would lose, often convincingly, to the next monster heel or nefarious cheater just prior to that guy’s showdown with the champ for the belt.

I’m not sure if Coach Pop should be flattered or offended.

But there are already rumors afoot that BS will next work for Vince McMahon Enterprises.

Maybe ol’ Bill can transition into the position by having a Sunday Conversation with Pierce.