What I learned about the NBA without watching a single game
By ALYSHA TSUJI
College Contributor Network
A few weeks ago I moved into a new apartment with no TV and no cable. While preparing to move, for about five seconds I thought about setting up a cable service then naively concluded that I'd survive without it.
For an ordinary person whose television viewing consists mostly of shows available on Hulu and Netflix, and the occasional news clip, being cable-less is a non-issue so long as there's Internet access. However, it is January. This is the prime time of the NBA season and I am a sports junkie.
What I quickly learned is that the illegal NBA streams are crappy and not worth dealing with (last year I tried the legal NBA League Pass -- never again). I've barely survived. First world problems, I know. A cable technician made his way to my place hours before the Super Bowl.
During my TV-less days, I resorted to "watching" the NBA via Twitter. It was as agonizingly painful as it sounds. Here's what I learned:
For a while, the Lakers were entertaining. From the worst start in franchise history to the Nick Young/Jeremy Lin bantering, it was sad but fun to laugh at. At one point in the past month, I was bummed that I wasn't able to watch the purple and gold goof up on the hardwood. Now I realize I've been saved. The spew of tweets resulting from that double-OT Bulls game made me want to drive down to Staples Center and hug every reporter in the media section. That game consisted of 58 minutes -- which doesn't even count the time given for breaks, timeouts and the combined 57 free throw attempts -- and no free tacos. It can't get any worse.
2. The Spurs no longer exist
Maybe it's because of the people I choose to follow, but I've hardly seen a peep of what's up with the defending champs. While it's true that the Spurs have proven more than competent when it comes to slipping under the radar during the regular season only to emerge in June raising the Larry O'Brien trophy, I wouldn't sharpie them into the playoffs this year just quite yet. San Antonio currently sits on the brink of the West. Of course there's still nearly half a season to play out, but New Orleans and Oklahoma City both hold the factor of unpredictability. With Anthony Davis leading the Pelicans and Russell Westbrook leading the Thunder, anything is possible.
What's in the water in the ATL? Their social media is poppin', the Hawks are on a 19-game tear and I've read multiple tweets lofting the idea that the Hawks could win every game through the remainder of the season. By the time you read this, they may have already added W's. The team's win/loss percentage right now is practically double what they finished last season with. They're ranked third in defense and sixth in offense (not incredibly impressive). Kyle Korver is the sole Hawk at the top of any of the player leaderboards (again, this does not impress me). I haven't actually watched them play all season. Their win streak baffles me. Would seeing them play help me understand? Is this the next-era Spurs team? Did someone give coach Budenholzer access to the Space Jam juice?
4. Someone check the Warriors' balls for magnets
My biggest regret of this whole TV-debacle is not being able to flip on the telly when Klay Thompson started dropping bombs in his record-scoring quarter. As ATL runs the East, GSW runs the West. The Warriors sit atop the Western Conference, and they're the toughest team to beat on their home court as they hold a 22-2 record in Oracle Arena. Their 12.6 net rating is the highest in the league with who other than the Hawks trailing them with a pretty distant 7.8. The Splash Bros aren't messing around, and when one of them catches fire, there's nothing you can do about it.
The moral of the story is don't go cable-less during the NBA season if you're an NBA fan. The human willpower isn't as strong as it seems. Actually, I take that back. If JR Smith can resist the urge to party, then I could probably survive with no TV. But I won't torture myself any longer. Plus, I'm sure JR will find some Cleveland nightspots soon enough.