And I'll agree with the sentiment about how the style of play in the NBA has detrimentally changed over the years, which is why I said I'd watch the 80's Showtime Lakers any day of the week over our current team. Hell, to be honest, I sometimes enjoy watching Sacto and Dallas play, since they're two of the only teams that still maintain much of an 80's style offense, and some great passing skills. I agree that the slide started most notably with Detroit's "Bad Boys" of the late 80's/early 90's, though I certainly detected a hint of it with the mid/late 80's Celtics too. They banged, pushed, pulled, cheap-shotted, etc. quite a lot as well, but were much more polished offensively though, so their antics weren't quite as noticeable or memorable. (sorry Bug)
No argument Matt. The reason the Lakers won more in the 80's was because they were more talented. Pretty simple. It really became a matter more of whether Bird could single handedly pull off a miracle or not. That's not to say that McHale, Johnson, Ainge and the Chief weren't a good supporting cast, they were. They just weren't as talented.
As far as the physicality goes, I agree too. But I think the phrase from the sublime to the ridiculous
is well applied here. In the 80's, the Chief would back in, bouncing and shoving with his ass until he felt the release of pressure and he had the room for his unstoppable turnaround J. But that was an offensive foul. Hell, I remember refs telling players to take their hands off the body on D
I was watching the game the other night when one of the Wolves, much smaller than Shaq basically had himself at a 45 degree angle with his hand out holding Shaq. Is that a foul? Sure it is, but hell, he's trying to hold a 300+lb monster back from shoving him into the 3rd row of seats without
a foul being called. That's not basketball, that's an offensive lineman. Wrong sport, stoopid waste. Call it all.
Don't get me started on travelling. Gawrsh, it was amazing when Julius Erving would take off and dunk from the foul line. Now every schmo can do it. Why? Well, Erving got maybe a 1/2 step of generosity from the refs, but he was good enough at it that the call would look questionable if you nailed him on travelling; it's all in precisely when you pick up your dribble. These jokers today get 3 steps plus the 1/2. Hell, I could dunk in high school with four steps and I'm short AND white.
Highlights are about all I can bear. Entertainment over substance. Blech.