MIAMI, FL - MAY 31: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat drives for a shot attempt against Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game One of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on May 31, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Larry W. Smith-Pool/Getty Images)
LeBron James and the Miami Heat look to take control in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, but if Dirk Nowitzki and Dallas can pull of the upset, suddenly it's a whole new series. Either way, here's to hoping for a classic. Plus: Miracle drugs, lockout news, rappers backing the Heat, and showbiz parents at their finest. Talking Points is a daily series that highlights some of the best stories in sports (and elsewhere). Click here to read the archives.
The NBA Finals continue Thursday night with Game 2 of the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat, and the Mavs have their backs against the wall, while Miami has a chance to take control of this series before it even gets started. Either way, the stakes are higher than you think.
Here's what's in play for the Mavs at this point. As Zach Lowe points out at Sports Illustrated, teams that win the first two games of a seven-game series have gone 196-11 in those series. In other words, if Dallas loses tonight, it gets seriously dicey from here on out.
And even though Dallas gets three games at home after this road trip to Miami, that doesn't exactly guarantee a comeback. Since the NBA Finals went to the 2-3-2 home-and-away format, there have only been two teams that swept all three of those middle home games.
So where does that leave us? With a must-win game for the Mavs, and our best shot at an instant classic with these NBA Finals. Because if Dallas wins tonight, then suddenly the whole series looks different, Dallas has homecourt advantage, and everyone that crowned the Heat after Game 1 looks like a complete fool. On the other hand, Miami can take a lot of the drama out of the next week just by taking care of business tonight.
It's not to say that we're guaranteed a great game, but both teams know what's at stake tonight, and everyone's going to play their asses off. So here's to hoping for a classic in Game 2, because this might be our last chance at real drama for the rest of these Finals.
Or, at the very least, let's hope Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy don't drive us all to homicide.
With that, let's get into Talking Points...
Have You Heard About The Website Where You Can Buy All Sorts Of Drugs? It's actually kind of amazing that it so long for something like this to pop up, but at long last, there's a peer-to-peer commerce website that's here to serve all your shady, black market needs.
It's called Silk Road, and we can't link to it because it's only accessible through some weird back channel of the internet that requires A) supreme intelligence or B) highly motivated users, willing to learn anything if it means they gain access to free, cheap, awesome drugs.
Mark, a software developer, had ordered the 100 micrograms of acid through a listing on the online marketplace Silk Road. He found a seller with lots of good feedback who seemed to know what they were talking about, added the acid to his digital shopping cart and hit "check out." He entered his address and paid the seller 50 Bitcoins—untraceable digital currency—worth around $150. Four days later the drugs, sent from Canada, arrived at his house.
"It kind of felt like I was in the future," Mark said.
Yeah ... Kind of. It's kind of like Napster, too, which started in 1999.
Here is just a small selection of the 340 items available for purchase on Silk Road by anyone, right now: a gram of Afghani hash; 1/8th ounce of "sour 13" weed; 14 grams of ecstasy; .1 grams tar heroin. A listing for "Avatar" LSD includes a picture of blotter paper with big blue faces from the James Cameron movie on it. The sellers are located all over the world, a large portion from the U.S. and Canada.
In any case, check out the whole article here. I'm disappointed in the black market that it's taken this long to develop something like this, but it's pretty wild nonetheless. And to that point, I bet this whole concept sounds completely mind-blowing to anyone that's reading this high.
More Drugs! You Can Erase Bad Memories Now. Okay, so this sounds more like the future:
University of Montreal researchers say that the drug metyrapone reduces the brain’s ability to re-record the negative emotions associated with painful memories. In other words, bad memories are effectively blocked from being recalled or remembered.
Thank God! There's finally a way for Pau Gasol to put the 2011 NBA Playoffs behind him for good. Likewise, we can all use this drug to forget those awkward ages from 12-16 years old. Unless you're one of those people who peaked in junior high school, in which case you can go to hell.
There's a catch, though.
"Our findings may help people deal with traumatic events by offering them the opportunity to ‘write-over’ the emotional part of their memories during therapy," Marin said. One major hurdle, however, is the fact that metyrapone is no longer commercially produced.
But I bet you can find it on Silk Road...
Less Fun News! A Primer For Friday's Lockout Appeal. Courtesy of Andrew Brandt at the National Football Post, who's consistently dominated the coverage of the lockout so far. Also, there's actually some hope for the meeting tomorrow, now that the court's have canceled mediations next week. Again from Brandt:
Remembering Shaq. The first thing I did when Shaq retired yesterday was write this. After that, I spent the rest of the workday on YouTube, digging through various Shaq highlights. Say what you want about the guy, but no athlete produced more memorable footage than Shaq. To wit, Quickish put together an impressive collection of Shaq videos--highlights, quotes, commercials, etc--and if you haven't wasted an hour looking through old Shaq highlights, this is a good place to start.
Still wish that Shaq and Hakeem had played one-on-one though. Would've been so awesome:
Also, this Sports Illustrated cover would make for an incredible poster.
A Fascinating, Terrifying Story. About an arsonist who terrorized Washington D.C. during the '80s. It's difficult to read at times, but using letters from the man, himself, the Washington City Paper paints a pretty intense picture. It's scary to think about how easily he could pull all this off, and equally uncomfortable to hear him talk about his victims. But it's hard to look away, too. The insanity here is scary, tragic, and totally captivating. A lot like a fire, Captain Obvious might say.
Doc Rivers Talks About How He Almost Traded For Dwyane Wade. Via Sports Radio Interviews:
"Dwyane came in to work out with us when I was coaching the Magic and he really shouldn’t have. I think we were the 15th pick or the 14th pick. He had no business coming. He just came because of the Marquette connection. We had a workout. We had Keith Bogans and a couple of other guys. He dominated that workout more than I have seen any player dominate a workout to a point where we were scrambling trying to make a trade to get him in the draft and move up. We felt a lot of people didn’t know it.
"We had a deal with the Miami Heat if their guy didn’t come up the pick was ours. Well when the pick came to Miami…and Dwyane Wade we thought that we had him because we didn’t know that Miami liked him and then they called us right before they were about to pick and they said ‘We’re sorry. We have our guy.’ And they picked Dwyane Wade."
Now THAT is a good NBA "what if?" ...
Jon Stewart Teaches Donald Trump A Lesson About New York Pizza. Pretty epic.
The Miami Heat Are Your Favorite Rapper's Favorite Team. Even if the Miami Heat end up winning the NBA Title this year and making Birdman 2 million bucks, I think this tweet makes it pretty clear that it's only a matter of time before he stupidly goes bankrupt:
Elsewhere, Rick Ross released an NBA Finals theme song. The song itself is absolutely terrible, and you shouldn't listen to it unless you want to get depressed about the state of hip hop. Because as usual, the idea of Rick Ross is better than the real thing. The artwork is fantastic though.
Finally, A Lesson To All You Prospective Parents Out There. The National Spelling Bee got underway today, putting overbearing parents and child prodigies side-by-side on a national stage. But if it's insane parents you want, you're not going to do any better than Kirsten Dunst as a 13 year-old, and her bats**t crazy parents trying to coach her for interviews.
Honestly, I'm not sure whether the arsonist is any worse than these parents. The section about religion (around 3:55) is where things get superduper insane. Via Molly Lambert: