A Basketball Game Happened

A Tale from the Perspective of Someone Who Does Not Understand Basketball

A Basketball Game Happened

Image via wikipedia.org

Kera Morris, Reporter

On a fine Sunday afternoon, I am off to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch a basketball game and have a drink. Our sports reporter Jason Truitt has suggested three games. Given I don’t know a single thing about any of the six teams he’s mentioned, I choose a game featuring the Celtics based entirely on the fact that my maternal grandparents are Irish.

“Hi, can I sit by a TV showing the Celtics game?” I ask a hostess, who looks over to another host to ask where that game might be. “I think it’s playing in the closed section,” he says. The hostess is not deterred. They can change a TV near me, she says. But frankly it’s almost noon on a Sunday and the bar is nearly empty so I could probably watch this game on 15 TVs the size of my kitchen if I wanted to.

I’m slightly disappointed because when we were here a couple weeks back for dinner, several dozen people at the bar were losing their minds over a basketball game. It would appear something more significant than this game was on offer then.

“What color are their jerseys?” asks the hostess, clearly as basketball savvy as myself, looking around at the screens. I momentarily panic… I’ll be labelled a fake fan from the very beginning.

“Green?” I hazard a guess, based on the Irish angle.

Turns out, I’m not entirely wrong! The uniforms are mostly black but have green piping. It’s all quite dashing, really.

I’ve arrived late because the internet was being coy about how long basketball games–

Wait, something important is happening. A Celtic player in the #12 jersey is standing some distance away from the basket, but is being left alone by everyone, who line up along the green rectangle in front of the basket to stare intensely at him while he prepares to throw the basketball.

You know how they say there are no atheists in foxholes? Jedi is a religion in some places. Perhaps basketball players all think they’re using the Force in situations like this.

Image via starwars.com
This is not the foul you’re looking for.

I don’t see whether or not the basket is made, as my waitress has come back with the delicious adult beverage I have ordered, and I swear, my reporting should improve from this point on.

That reminds me, I was talking about how long basketball games are. Turns out, they’re divided into 4 quarters of 12 minutes each, for a 48-minute total. Now, I knew immediately this was an outright lie because–

Hey, they’re showing footage from 1974. The Celtics did something awesome that year. I’d also like to note that their uniforms were entirely green at that point. I honestly can’t decide if that’s preferable. The green piping on black really is quite nice looking.

Evidence I watched a basketball game: Exhibit A

Okay, now we’re in the 3rd quarter and 7:03 minutes remain. The Bucks players have control of the ball and are running to the right. Bucks player #22 just had the ball slapped out of his hands and looks mighty unhappy about it. I laugh, alone. I wonder if anyone else would have found this funny.

Okay, so the Bucks run right, the Celtics run left. I realize this is dependent entirely on which side of the stadium one is seated on, but the TV people recording this for the folks at home have kept the camera angle consistent.

The team I’m (I guess?) rooting for is losing, 49-65. Wait, 51-65. You know that trick where Celtics slapped the ball out of the Bucks #22 guy’s hands? Well, the Bucks just tried to do the same thing, but the Celtic who just scored points was very slippery and cleverly avoided having the ball slapped away from him.

Go, that guy!

We’re at a commercial again, which reminds me that I never finished my story about how the internet is a fickle beast. After I found out games last 48 minutes, which I knew was a filthy lie, it took three different iterations of the same question for the internet to finally tell me that games last 2 hours and 15 minutes on average.

Image via Kera Morris
The truth comes out, finally

My budget doesn’t include multiple hours at a commercial bar so that’s why I started reporting after halftime. Sue me.

Someone named Marcus Smart underwent thumb surgery. This is a thing I now know, that you now also get to know. I assume that’s him in the crowd watching his teammates play, because they have zoomed in on his face while there’s a note up on the screen about the surgery.

Everyone is on the right side of the court, so it must be… wait, left side. These folks are pretty quick.  Celtics down still, but by fewer points. 53-65. Now that I am watching, obviously their luck is improving.

One of the Bucks just fell down for no discernible reason. This is familiar territory, to a sometime soccer fan.

The Bucks are nearly as good at acting as an Italian football team! I am still sour about the 2010 World Cup, you see. They robbed New Zealand.

Image via funnyjunk.com
I’m not bitter.

I’d like very much to keep on reporting on the running left and right, but it happens too fast. The Celtics scored 3 points while I was typing that last sentence.

The Bucks keep trying to throw the ball from about half a court away and it looks just like me trying to get a balled-up piece of paper into a trash can from 3 feet away. In a word: shameful.

It’s 60-71. A Celtic player just nailed a 3-point shot for like, the third time in a row. Maybe, everything is happening quickly. Just that guy! Bet the Bucks wish they had that guy.

Image via Kera Morris
Evidence I watched a basketball game: Exhibit B

A Bucks player, who looks like he was pushed, just slid bodily a good 10 feet across the court but everyone ignored him and kept playing. I’m not understanding how fouls occur.

A Celtic player just ran face first into the thing that holds up the basket. He has earned a foul shot, somehow. Or two? What? Why are there two? Why did they reward him for running into a pole with his face?

65-71. Go Celtics, creeping up there! I feel like a good luck charm from far, far away.

Halfway through my Bahama Mama, I realize this game is fun to watch when you’ve decided to gaze at it virtually nonstop without blinking.

Image via tipsybartender.com
Makes anything tolerable.

But I swear, this quarter only had 5 minutes left in it 30 minutes ago and now, still, it has another minute left. What witchcraft is this?

This is why I always missed episodes of the Simpsons as a kid. You people, turning 48 minutes into several-hour-long spectacles.

One of the Celtic players’ jersey number is 0. This cannot be good for his self-esteem.

The other bar patrons who have wandered in since my arrival appear to be watching baseball. That’s something I’m unwilling to try.

The screen says that the third quarter seems to be over, and also lists field goals? For both teams?

Call me ignorant, sports fans, but isn’t that football?

Image via independent.co.uk
You can’t fool me.

So it appears the Celtics did better in their 3rd quarter than they did in their first half. I take full credit for this. They sucked until I got here. You’re welcome, Boston.

Top of the 4th (is that just baseball or all sports?) coming along.

Oops, a fight is breaking out almost immediately. The other players stopped it! That would never happen in hockey.

I want sports to be like other sports, I guess. Would basketball be too exciting if they allowed the players to beat each other up?

69-75. The Celtics are getting sly. They duck and weave like nobody’s business. My food has arrived, so I’ll probably miss a few things.

I’ll try though, between bites. I explicitly got boneless wings so I could type without wasting time or 5,387 wet-wipes.

72-75. Call me invested, though. A Celtic player with a big, glorious ginger beard just did a slam dunk. Go ginger guy!

A Celtic player fell down, yet still passed the ball, resulting in a score. Legend!

There are regular side views of coaches shouting at someone who is invariably offscreen. Honestly, I’d like to see the look on the face of the person being shouted at, rather than the hysterical old guy.

With 8:58 left in the game, the two teams are tied.

They are all getting decidedly more aggressive now that the game is in the 4th quarter.

Those smug Bucks fans in the live audience are making me—a casual observer—irrationally irritable. I’ve somehow tapped into the competitive streak that runs through us all. The team I decided to barely support must win!

On the other hand, if I were on death row I would request that my time there be measured in basketball minutes to ensure I ultimately die of natural causes. I definitely need another drink.

Image via tipsybartender.com
Thank you

The Celtics appear to be pretty good at 3-point shots overall. Maybe they should avoid the slap-fights near the basket on their end.

Everyone in the stands that jumps up whenever baskets are made must have killer thighs. I mean, some people jump up when the ball comes to their side of the court, and that’s every few seconds.

Dear God, there’s another time out. There’s another mystery foul. There does not appear to be any rhyme or reason to when people get to take foul shots. Why did Buck #6 get to do it three times in a row?

Hilariously, a courtside fan just caught a ball to the face. Not graceful.

Image via nesn.com
This is what gracefully taking a basketball to the face looks like.

What I am piecing together is that the Bucks do in fact fall down a lot. Often when only their teammates appear to be nearby. Italian footballers, I’m telling y’all.

Maybe Celtics should fling themselves to the ground more frequently and even things out.

4 minutes remain in the game, suggesting another 9 and a half hours of play.

A Celt now gets to take foul shots. I guess they took my psychic advice.

I feel like you could punch someone in the face and the game would continue, but if a player pirouettes into the air of his own volition, daring gravity to lay him out on the court, it means their team gets 1-3 extra points.

Some really confusing, complex plays happening here near the end of the game. I cannot tell who is doing what at any point in time near baskets. It’s just a flurry of activity.

A Buck player just got a slam dunk. They’re celebrating by running into one another chest first, arms at their sides and strenuously frowning. It’s like the worst parts of a hug minus the best parts.

With 1:45 minutes left, a Buck player is miraculously hurt again. Do they just get to throw the ball until they win a prize? I don’t understand.

A minute and a half left. Separated by 1 point. I bet this is where that “half-hour minute” our sports writer referenced comes in.

Celtics in the lead with 52 seconds remaining. Apparently, the guy in the #0 jersey brought them to this point. You’re no zero, you’re the hero! (I am too far away to read names, especially on Bahama Mama #2.)

This game looks exhausting. They run virtually nonstop.

100-102, Celtics down with 33 seconds remaining.

I need someone to explain why the clock stops after literally every single play.

102-102, with 29 seconds remaining. It’s a nailbiter!

5 seconds remain, Celtics down 102-104 and we’re going to commercial. Naturally.

The commercials have ended, it’s time to go. Five seconds remain. Can the Celtics pull out one of their potentially signature 3-point shots? Will this go into overtime?

No, and also no, though they did give it a shot. The ball didn’t make it. The last 5 seconds literally only lasted the 5 remaining seconds. The Celtics lost by two points. I am not a long-distance good luck charm. At least the fans there in person are happy. A woman is now interviewing a Bucks player who is a full two feet taller than she is. It looks awkward.

Image via quora.com
Post-interview, probably

I guess that’s it. Now the bar is full of people watching another basketball game, featuring players in white jerseys and black jerseys. The team names aren’t visible from this distance. I must assume either basketball fans are deeply religious and missed this game on account of church, or no one here in Littleton cared about this game at all and much prefer this new one.

My adventure with basketball complete, time to head home.