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Defiance: The Odyssey of Ronald Bazemore

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Old 06-19-2017, 01:19 AM   #105
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Re: Defiance: The Odyssey of Ronald Bazemore

Kobe just being Kobe (managed to skip a year or two from his Real Life counterpart).
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:15 AM   #106
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Re: Defiance: The Odyssey of Ronald Bazemore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kumode
Kobe just being Kobe (managed to skip a year or two from his Real Life counterpart).
Yeah, I've thrown this Kobe right into the fire -- statistically, he could have chipped in about 15-16 a night his rookie season IRL if he had gotten 30+ minutes a game. He has skipped right into "starter Kobe" mode here, but he was always capable -- he got brought along slowly by the Lakers IRL.

Here, he's being tossed right into the deep end and being told to swim. So far, he's doing it. The team is really coming together I feel, but we'll see how we fair as the season goes on.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:21 PM   #107
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Re: Defiance: The Odyssey of Ronald Bazemore

Ch. 9
November 11th, 1996

“Are you *ucking kidding me?!” He launched off the bench and paced the sideline, screaming at the referee as loudly as he could. “He was vertical! He was *ucking vertical, right in the God damn air and that’s a *ucking foul?!”

The ref glared at Ron and gave him a tech.

Ron put up both his hands and nearly gave the ref a double dose of the finger. Instead, he turned back towards the bench and screamed, “*UCK” as he went by.

Game six of the young NBA season was not going well. The Hawks were in Miami and tonight was Veteran’s Day, so the NBA dictated the teams wear some alternate uniforms. Miami was in their old Floridians garb while the Hawks were wearing the Pistol Pete baby blues from the 70s. Were they fashionable? Hell no, they made both teams look like one of Baskin Robbins 31 flavors, but it gave the game a visual flare that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.

The uniforms were infinitely more interesting than the game, which was being slowed by the whistles of the refs. It was a parade to the foul line and the Heat were getting tagged, left and right, with bull*hit fouls that made Ron’s blood boil.

“Matt, where’ my *ucking rotation!” Ron said to the 7’2” Matt Geiger, his sweaty bald head gleaming in the light. “Get over there and help or at least get a chunk of him while he’s driving the lane!”

Matt just gave a reserved nod. He wasn’t happy about losing his starting job to Dikembe, and who would be, but Dikembe was the way better player. But, with under three minutes to go in the first, Dikembe was getting rest on the bench and Matt was in. And the fouls still kept coming. Rasheed Wallace must have had blackmail on the refs for how often he was getting to the line.

Doc Kirby came over and handed Ron a drink as they waited for the TV timeout to finish. “You’re going to get tossed at this rate.”

Ron gulped down his cup of water in one shot and crushed the paper cup with his hand as hard as he could. It was cathartic. “*uck’em, we’ll win it anyway.” He pointed at Dominique sitting on the bench. “You good to go in?”

Dominique didn’t even answer, he just stood and flashed a smile.

“Perfect,” Ron said. He pointed at Matt. “Grab a seat. Dominique, you’re in at the four, Kurt you’ve got the five. We’re running small till the end of the quarter … we need to stop the bleeding. We need to get control of this before we go down by more than just eight points.”

Matt nodded reluctantly and trudged to the bench. The TV timeout ended and Steve Smith – former Miami Heat member – went to the line and sunk the technical. Then Wallace went to the line and hit one.

He missed the second though and Thomas ripped down the rebound. Dominique went streaking down the court and Thomas delivered an ugly – but effective – bounce pass to him in stride. Dominique grabbed it, weaved his way through the crowd of Hawk defenders, and launched into the air …





The finger roll was a thing of beauty and a move a veteran – not someone who’s as spry as they used to be – would make. The bucket was good and Dominique got the crowd on their feet.

Ron clapped his hands hard. “Let’s go! That’s the way, that’s the way!”

****

“Good lord,” she mumbled under her breath. The Hawks were choking this one away and something fierce. As she sat in the press box, a steaming cup of coffee beside her (because what journalist didn’t need caffeine at all hours of the day), she went through the first half notes again.

Bryant missing in action, Ehlo being tough.
Smith is having his way with Wilkins – old legs?
Where’s Abdur-Rahim? Wallace is eating him alive.
Ragin Ron on the sidelines, already got one tech, could be gone before the fourth.

It seemed like the Heat were going to go into the third down a whole lot. Instead, Bazemore subbed in a small-ball lineup at the end of the first that kinda stopped the bleeding. Then in the second, he rode Wilkins and Terry Porter – the two veterans didn’t disappoint. Porter took advantage of the Hawks point guard sub, Spud Webb, and Wilkins was just clever – he made the right reads, the right passes, and played physical on Smith.

The Heat went into halftime up 59-56 because Porter hit a dagger triple to end the half, and that seemed to kill the Hawks. Now, the Heat were rolling and Atlanta looked lost; free throws weren’t falling and shots were rimming out.

“Oh boy,” Sam said with excitement as he stood from his seat. Helena focused her attention on the court and saw Mutombo had swatted a ball away, Wilkins had recovered it and was running downhill, but the old legs couldn’t outrun Smith.

Wilkins drifted to the corner and slowed just enough to make Smith think he was jacking up a three – instead he zipped a pass to a blitzing Bryant.



“BOOM!” Sam said from beside her before he bit down on his lip and his face flushed. “God damn it,” he mumbled as he sat back down, embarrassed as the rest of the press box laughed it up and gave him some cheers.

Helena starting jotting down new notes.

Mutombo’s defense a franchise-changer.
Wilkins still has it.
Bryant the best rookie?
Bazemore better than hoped for?

****

“And the game ball goes to … Dikembe!” Ron said as he handed the game ball to the large center. Dikembe was all smiles as the locker-room applauded him.

Kobe was right there with them. He had never – ever – seen a performance like Dikembe had put on. The center had swallowed the Hawks offense whole almost on his own and scored so many putbacks; any miss for the Heat was basically a shot for Dikembe.

Still, I missed too much, Kobe reminded himself. Yes, he had shot over fifty percent for the game, but his triples were missing – a hair off here, a hair off there. It was infuriating. He was jacking the shots up in practice, in shootaround, in the dark of early morning and it still seemed to do nothing.

“Now,” Ron said as the locker-room quieted down. “We nailed them – we nailed them right to the floor and it was a brilliant game. We didn’t get screwed over by the refs—”

At the mention of the refs, the locker-room booed and booed loudly.

Ron nodded. “They deserve this for sure,” he said as he flashed two middle fingers repeatedly. The room burst out into further laughter. “Tonight, head home and relax, practice is off till ten tomorrow morning! Way to kick *ss!”

Kobe clapped in approval with the rest of the guys, but he wasn’t going to relax. He had to figure out what was up with his shot. He had to get better from deep or else no one would respect his range.

Ron came over, looked Kobe in the eyes, and said, “Same time as usual tomorrow?”

Kobe gave a nod. “See you in the morning, Coach.”

“Will do.”

That was the end of the conversation – the rest of the team would enjoy the free time.

They would be working.




Last edited by trekfan; 06-19-2017 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 06-19-2017, 04:07 PM   #108
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Re: Defiance: The Odyssey of Ronald Bazemore

9 offensive boards is absurd! What a game from Dikembe. Unfortunately, he's still so bad from the line, but at least it's not 1-5 bad.

I think you're starting to find your rhythm with the multi-perspective thing. I think it works really well. It keeps me engaged throughout the whole recap.
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Old 06-19-2017, 04:12 PM   #109
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Re: Defiance: The Odyssey of Ronald Bazemore

Quote:
Originally Posted by studbucket
9 offensive boards is absurd! What a game from Dikembe. Unfortunately, he's still so bad from the line, but at least it's not 1-5 bad.

I think you're starting to find your rhythm with the multi-perspective thing. I think it works really well. It keeps me engaged throughout the whole recap.
Yeah, Dikembe was a BEAST. We took the Hawks and ground them into dust -- huge franchise win, one of the biggest (if not the biggest) in history. His FT is killing me -- I need to check his rating to make sure it isn't absurdly low, but career wise he was only around 68% overall, so he's not exactly automatic but certainly serviceable most nights.

Glad to hear the perspective bit is working -- I'm really enjoying it and I think, as the games get more intense and we get to the playoffs, we'll get some really good stuff. Ron's rage was pretty much my own as I was playing that game last night -- the refs really were killing me.
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Old 06-19-2017, 06:19 PM   #110
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Re: Defiance: The Odyssey of Ronald Bazemore

This has been awesome. Really enjoying the format and how this team is gelling. I'd like to think the assistant coach looks so rough because Ron expects the best from his team and the guy has been busting his butt.

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Old 06-20-2017, 09:25 PM   #111
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Re: Defiance: The Odyssey of Ronald Bazemore

WHEW. Tight game against Pippen and the Bulls ... what a contest. Recap tomorrow, as well as a look at league injury news. The Tank for Timmy is on and destiny seems to be rearing its head again.
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Old 06-21-2017, 03:44 PM   #112
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Re: Defiance: The Odyssey of Ronald Bazemore




Ch. 10
November 21st, 1996

Sitting beside his head coach, Kobe watched the game unfold with him out of it. He had picked up an early foul and Ron had pulled him, just to give him a minute to think about it. He understood that, but it still pissed him off to get pulled so early in the game here, in Chicago -- he was playing on the court that made Michael Jordan the most famous basketball player in the world.

The night before they had lost to the Jazz in Utah – the flight back was hell and the travel schedule wasn’t doing them any favors tonight. Coming here, on short rest, the Heat were playing against the 7-3 Bulls. Scottie Pippen was ably leading the Bulls without Jordan – something Kobe wasn’t sure the man could really do – and the Heat, thanks to their loss to the still perfect (10-0) Jazz, also were 7-3.

They were only ten games through the season, but already they were battling for a playoff spot. It made him proud to be part of that – this team was a losing one the year before.

“God damn it!” Ron yelled and Kobe watched as Bill Wennington, one of the Bulls centers, grabbed an offense rebound. Dikembe was right nearby but just out of position …



But that didn’t matter. The reach and length of Dikembe was more than enough to swat the ball away from Wennington. It went flying towards the backcourt, where Terry Porter grabbed it and took it the hole with a nasty dunk, then was fouled coming down by Dennis Rodman; Terry landed all right, but he was pissed. Kobe and the rest of the bench stood up as Rodman just shrugged his shoulders after the foul and the refs got between Porter and Rodman, trying to keep things calm.

“Kobe, get back in there,” Ron said as he glared at Rodman heading back to the Bulls bench. Ron grabbed him by the shoulder. “And go at Rodman. We don’t take that *hit lying down.”

“I’ll mess him up.” He’d go at Rodman all right. I’m gonna get that mother*ucker to foul out.

****

“Where’s the defense?” Ron said as he looked at the halftime scoresheet. Sure, they were winning, but it was just by the skin of their teeth.



Doc Kirby chuckled at the sheet. “I told you we shouldn’t have used American Airlines. Probably lost it when we got off the plane.”

Ron blew out a sigh of frustration. Dikembe had three fouls and had spent most of the second quarter glued to the bench. Geiger was doing all right, but was getting torched by the Bulls bigs inside. Shareef and Kobe were doing well, but neither was playing better than average defense. Dominique was getting hammered by Pippen.

But Terry Porter had come to play. The point guard was showing exactly how valuable he was and how, even with Dikembe out, the Heat could still control the game.

“Our defense will need to show up eventually,” Ron mumbled. “After last night, I thought we’d get more effort.” The 98-93 loss still stuck in his craw. They could have been the first team to beat Utah all season – instead, they let it slip away on the road.

“Maybe tonight we should just stick with what works,” Doc offered.

Ron took another deep breath and crumpled the sheet into a ball. “It’s not about who plays the best defense – ”

“But who puts the most points on the scoreboard,” Doc finished, offering a gentle pat on Ron’s back. “You remember, huh?”

Ron smirked. “Hard to forget Coach Smith’s mantra.” Ron took another breath and straightened his tie. “Let’s get this win.”

****

“I’m telling you, he’s picking on Rodman on purpose,” Helena said as she sat in the press box. The Herald was kind enough to send her to cover this game, simply because of the star powered in it.

Her Chicago counterpart, Xavier Galloway, was having no part of her opinion, though. “Bryant is eighteen – Rodman has nearly twenty years on him! No way the kid is targeting one of the best defenders in the league.”

She pointed at the court. “Take a look.”

Rodman had five fouls – three of those coming from contact initiated by Bryant, all coming in the third quarter. There was only three minutes left before they would head to the fourth, but the teams were neck and neck – the lead had been traded back so many times between them, she couldn’t keep track anymore.

But Bryant had the ball now and he was waving everyone off – he had Rodman on him and the young kid was going to try to exploit the mismatch. Or give up a devastating fast break, she thought quietly.

“Rodman’s gonna eat him,” Galloway said with a little too much enthusiasm but it was understandable; he was a homer just like her. The only difference was his team had titles.

Bryant sized Rodman up, tried to get by him with a crossover, but Rodman wasn’t biting. Bryant step backed and dribbled as the clock wound down. 12 seconds. 10. 8.

“He’s gonna turn it over,” Galloway said with glee.

Helena bit her lip as she watched the rookie just sit there.

And then Bryant went right at Rodman, lowered his shoulder, and unleashed a devastating spin move. Rodman barely kept in front of him, but the veteran was clearly off balance and the two went into the air.



Bryant’s floater fell and Rodman was called for the foul after slapping at Bryant’s arm during the shot attempt. Dennis Rodman was out of the game with a full quarter still left.

“*ucking refs!” Galloway yelled.

Helena did her best not to smile.


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