Week in Review: Week 10

Game of the Week:

EL CAJON – Wednesday’s game began as a fast-paced shootout, but morphed into an intense, defensive slug-fest, that eventually had to be cut short. With the score just 40-38 following what felt like 90 minutes of play, Jim announced that the game was to end at 50 points, instead of the normal 60.

The 4-team of Jorge, Adam, Jacob and Gary rushed to a big early lead, behind a scoring outburst from Jacob, but the 5 team caught up and took their own 12 point lead in the first half. Then it was Jim, Phil, Darin, Richie and Kerry’s turn to cool off, and the game settled into a gritty, defensive struggle.

Adam, who has a full beard now, battled remarkably defending Phil, a skilled post player. The out-sized Adam managed to alter Phil’s shots by engaging him in mundane conversation, such as asking about the make, model, year and mileage of Phil’s car. Phil tried to reply to Adam, dispensing the information in-game. It is that much more difficult to get the proper touch on a hook shot while saying “2008 Passat”, but Phil tried, whether out of gamesmanship, manners or some a mixture of the two.

40-38 was the 5 team’s last lead, as the 4 team turned it up with one of Gary’s patented baseline jumpers, a Whirling Dervish basket driving down the key, and fast-break points to reach 50.

Pickup Lines – How to Speak Pickup Basketball:

Hair-o-dynamic: Showing improved athleticism after a haircut. Short haircuts are believed to create a better air-resistance profile with less weight and drag, boosting player speed, agility and vertical leap.

“Jim was much more hair-o-dynamic today!”

Full-Court Press:

John went running on Thursday at lunch, which could be an early step toward playing a basketball game later this year… A ping-pong table has arrived in the warehouse (making the company that much more like Dunder Mifflin), and many of the basketball players have joined the newly formed “Table Tennis Society”… Darin gave up his beard for Lent, and has been diving in the Power Rankings ever since; suggested work-around – mustache…

Player of the Week:

On Wednesday morning, Kerry reported seeing four puddles on the basketball court. Commissioner Gary, man of action, took control of the situation by emailing Jim, Jacob, Phil, George and Darin to say he needed one of them to drive out and sweep up the puddles. Who would step up in a big way and answer Gary’s call to save the day?  Who would heroically volunteer so that there could be basketball at lunch on Wednesday, in a game where nobody slipped on a puddle? That person is the Player of the Week. Congratulations Jim.

One-on-One: G-Money

Lunchsketball commissioner G-Money sits down to talk about 3-pointers, the Dream Team, and the Hilltop Deli among other things in this tell-all interview.

LBall: You’ve had quite a run and it isn’t over yet. What is your secret to playing so long?

G: My secret to playing so long probably would be pacing myself, and not doing anything that I can probably get hurt from. I do take some chances, but those loose balls on the ground that most guys dive for? I stay away from those. Those high passes, that you have to jump really high and get? I try to avoid those as much as possible. And taking the ball inside is kind of a no-no for me. Number one, for size, and number two, for longevity of playing time, I think’s it’s best that I avoid the contact that goes with going under the basket and getting beat up.

LBall: Talk about what you eat to get ready for the game. What is your “breakfast of champions”?

G: I try to eat as much protein as I can before the game. I stay away from burritos because the fat content is too high.  At my age you have to be really careful. I’ll have chicken in the morning; either a patty or a small chicken breast sandwich -plain with nothing else. And then I’ll snack on some granola or trail mix. Then an hour before I play, I’ll go out and get something with protein in it.

LBall: From McDonald’s?

G: Yeah, sometimes Chicken McNuggets. I’m supposed to stay away from those. That or just a Carl’s Jr. burger. A plain burger with cheese on it, and that’s it. Protein.  Post game, anything goes. After the game I can carb up all I want. I have to refill my body.

LBall: We all know that you’re a big fan of the Hilltop Deli. Tell us a little bit about that.

G: Every now and then I get a sandwich. Sometimes when I feel like a nice big turkey sandwich, I’ll get the Californian.  The chicken cordon bleu sandwich is pretty good too. It’s a warm chicken breast with honey mustard and swiss cheese in there. It’s pretty good.

LBall: Who is the greatest basketball player of all time?

G: There are so many great players that I admire. The easy answer for most people is Michael Jordan. Myself, I wasn’t a big Jordan fan, and I have a lot of guys that I really admire, like Larry Bird, and Bill Russell, and John Havlicek – I’m not just going to name Celtics – Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaq.

LBall: Ok, name the three greatest basketball players of all time.

G: Jorge [Lunchsketball’s own] is one. Steve Nash. And LeBron James. Jordan doesn’t crash my top three.

LBall: To which NBA player would you compare yourself ?

G: Steve Nash. That’s the guy that I admire the most. I like  a guy that plays to make his team better. He sacrifices himself in every way to make his team successful. There’s a new guy now that Steve Nash is kind of getting up there in years: Rondo. Rajon Rondo is kind of the guy I like, because he’ll throw his body in there. He’ll play an entire game if he has to when the other guys are resting.

LBall: Other than Jorge, who is the greatest athlete that you ever played basketball with?

G: The guy that I felt was one of the best players that I ever played with… [broadcasting legend] Jerry Usher. I liked playing with Jerry Usher. He’s a good guy. And he could do everything: he could rebound, he could steal, he could post people up, and he could hit all day from outside.

LBall: If there’s one thing you could change about Lunchsketball, what would that be?

G: I wish we had an indoor court. Only because my biggest weakness is, because of my age, when the sun’s hot it beats down on me, and I’ll start out good, then once my legs go because of the heat, my whole games starts to suffer. And I think the games would be a lot longer and a lot more productive if we played indoors. So if we had an indoor court, that would be perfect.

LBall: You versus Kerry. 1-on-1. All 1’s. Game to 11. What’s the final score going to be?

G: 11 – 2.

LBall: You’d win?

G: Of course. Wouldn’t even be close.

LBall: Recently, you successfully lobbied to change the scoring in Lunchsketball from 1’s and 2’s, to 2’s and 3’s. How are you feeling about the change now that it is in place?

G: Yeah, I’m pretty happy about that. I’m very happy about that. And it’s not for any other reason other than that I just wanted to see an equitable way of scoring. I know people probably look at it like I was being selfish because I don’t shoot a lot of twos. Honestly, I look at my soul and I say I wasn’t trying to be that way. I just wanted it to be more fair. And I’ve had people come up to me and say they’ve had to change their game plan because of that, and they can’t just stand back and shoot twos all day long like they did before. You can chew someone up quicker with two 2’s than you can with one 3, so I feel pretty good about that.

LBall: Why don’t you ever shoot from behind the arc?

G: Because I’m not comfortable. I don’t have the accuracy from that point. I kind of have to push the ball a little harder than normal. Maybe it’s psychological  And I don’t like to hurt the team. See, that’s that Steve Nash/Rondo part of me.  If I take a bunch of threes and I don’t make them, then I make my team have to work harder on defense to get back in position to stay competitive.

LBall: There has been a lot of talk lately about a “Dream Team”. You have expressed some strong opinions on the subject. Which 3 players would you add to a Dream Team with you on it?

G: George, Erik and the third person could be just about anyone. I would probably say Jimbo. With George, Erik and Jimbo, we could probably take any other five Lunchsketball players out there. A little short, but I think we make up for it in hustle. Three hustle guys out there.

LBall: What is your favorite lunch-basketball themed website?

G: Lunchsketball is awesome. The creator is completely talented in the aspect that his choice of words are very impressive. Very entertaining. It’s at the point now where people are actually looking forward to it. Every Friday they are checking the website just to see if there have been any updates. I mean it’s one of those things; it’s almost like Christmas. You want to open up that present; you want to see what the next story is going to be.

LBall: Is there anyone you would like to see me interview next?

G: Jimbo. Only because he’s the most vocal critic of everything I put forth when it comes to time-playing, points scoring, amount of people on the court, time it takes to warm up, how much time to play, argued calls… all that stuff.

LBall: Alright. Do you have any questions for me?

G: Is there any point where you feel like sometimes that you have to take the team on your back and win the game? Do you ever feel like there’s a point where if you don’t take over the game yourself, kind of like Kobe Bryant does, when you feel like your teammates are not doing what they’re supposed to do? Maybe they’re falling short on their passes, or the shooting level drops, do you ever feel like ok, I’ve got to take this game over and I’ve got to bring my team to victory?

LBall: Yes.

G: I could just ask you, as a Lunchsketball player, do you always play with the same intensity, or do you gauge it by the amount of competition, or the amount of points that you are either ahead or behind during a given game?

LBall: I do not always play with the same level of intensity. It varies for all kinds of things.

G: What would you say is the key thing that raises your level of intensity? What are the triggers that spark in you that push you to the edge like that?

LBall: You can read all about this on my player profile at Lunchsketball.wordpress.com.