Welcome back to The Madhouse, the most unnecessary part of your reading week.
Suns been losing.
For the better part of the season I have done my very best to speak winning into existence. I didn’t post anything last week and the Suns fell off a cliff. So that’s on me.
What the hell is going on? You have to go as far back as last year to find a Phoenix Suns homestand as ugly as that to which we were just treated. The trip to Los Angeles offered no respite.
Close losses. Blowout losses. Games we should have won. Games we expected to lose. Any loss to suit your tastes. WHAT HAPPENED?
I’m good. We’re good. I’m chill. 11-16 is hardly the end of the world. On December 20th of last year we were 8-24, so let’s keep things in perspective. But it hasn’t been a fun week.
I’m sticking by my guarantee that Phoenix is headed to postseason. Others, sadly, have replaced their confidence with cowardice. Brendon Kleen outlined earlier in the week that a great many now think Portland and Sacramento are more likely playoff-bound.
But it wasn’t all bad. Deandre Ayton’s return from suspension garnered mostly positive reviews. Suns fans, who are obviously among the smartest fans in the NBA, no, the smartest fans in the NBA, gave Ayton a ‘B’ grade for his game against the Clippers.
Friday’s game against the Thunder is a big one. After the trip to Oklahoma City, Houston and Denver await the Suns in Phoenix. OKC has won two straight and seven of ten. They are a team that it appears has found its footing.
That said, the Thunder do not rebound well. They rank near the very bottom of the league. This could have been a game in which Ayton would feast, but we’ll not see him. I guess we’ll just need Dario Saric to pull down 15 or so boards. Frank Kaminsky is also welcome to chip in with a dozen.
The Thunder do not defend the three-point line particularly well. Devin Booker is having a career-year by most any metric. If he plays, and he may not, I’d like to see 40 from Book. I don’t want to be greedy.
It’s important. Houston is good. Denver is good. A four game road trip follows. This thing could go off the rails real quick if we don’t rediscover whatever it was we were doing right in the first part of the season.
Most importantly, it’s Bright Side Night season. Get involved.
James Wiseman, the potential top pick in the 2020 NBA Draft (a pick we don’t chase anymore), has decided that three games at Memphis is enough college ball. He’s withdrawn from the university and will be hiring an agent.
Ric Bucher told Colin Cowherd that NBA coaches are not fans of “load management.”
Here is Yahoo’s NBA All-Decade Team, because I am quite sure you have not had enough of these lists in your life.
And for good measure, here is what Tom Haberstroh thinks the next decade’s team will look like.
Kendrick Perkins compared Luka Doncic and Lebron James, because, I don’t know, that’s what you do in sports. You just compare things all the time.
More Golden State games are dropping from the national television schedule.
Here’s a good read on absurdly deep three-point shots.
Steve Kerr is older, wiser, and feels differently about adult men making the leap from high school to the NBA.
What I’m reading: Yesterday - The Jungle, Upton Sinclair. I read this every couple of years or so, it’s among my favorites ever, of all time, ever. Can you believe they had us read this in middle school? Should we be reading this in middle school? Well, whatever. It happened. Tomorrow - Days Without End, Sebastian Barry.
What I’m playing: Really trying to get into Horizon Zero Dawn on PS4, but these cut scenes....man....come on. Get to the game. Once upon a time I spent a considerable amount of time with Stardew Valley on the Xbox One. This week I downloaded it on the Switch and will be dipping into it again.
What I’m watching: Suns, Knights, Impeachment.
What I’m Thinking
Your President was impeached this week, one week before Christmas Day.
Have you ever seen those articles that people write about how to talk politics around family during the holidays? I used to see them all the time, usually directed there with the aid of social media.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about, from Fox News.
And to maintain balance in The Madhouse universe, here’s a similar article, from CNN.
I’ve never understood this problem. We don’t talk about such things in my family. I don’t know that it’s a hard and fast rule, we just don’t.
I haven’t the first idea regarding the political ideologies these people fancy. I don’t know any person for which they’ve voted. They can say the same about me. I’m not saying it’s a good or bad thing, it just is.
When watching the impeachment ordeal unfurl on television I found myself thinking of the articles linked above and the inevitable discussion that will occur at family gatherings next week.
Is this really a topic that’s hard to avoid? And if it is going to be discussed, is it really that hard to avoid conflict?
And has this always been a problem? My awareness of presidential comings and goings only extends as far back as Clinton’s first term. People argue and fight and carry on these days, but did the same thing occur during President Nixon’s term? Are we only more aware of it today?
I do know people who have seen friendships and relationships with family destroyed within the last few years over stuff like this. You probably do too.
Is it going to be worse this year? And with the impeachment going down so close to Christmas, will the discussion bleed into families that have never before discussed some things?
I’m curious as to what you expect from your family gatherings.