Monday, September 25, 2006

Of 3s as 4s.

Chatter floating around of Travis Outlaw playing some power forward this year,since Webster & Miles will probably be locked in at the 3. Kind of a strange proposition, although not entirely without precedent (see Marion, Shawn). 'Course, Trav is no Matrix, but the batting around of the idea of the Sheriff's son from Mississippi burning slower, less athletic "true" power forwards is something I've seen happen.

Albeit, these things I've seen transpired in the confines of my laptop's harddrive over the duration of last winter and five seasons of NBA Live 2005. Although touched on before1, one of the unmentioned beauties of NBA Live is the ability to exploit matchups against the AI. Since, until this summer, the Blazers had one, and only one, true PF (Zach), I chose to go "mismatch," and alternate Miles & Outlaw at the backup 4. Both tended to tire quickly from getting pushed around by bigger guys, but a general lack of talent and athleticism and endurance by the team as a whole meant that Zach and Telfair logged the heavy minutes and the rest of the team ebbed and flowed on and off the court in an endless stream of substitutions.

After two seasons of mastering the smoke and mirrors of playing (and winning) w/ a team consisting of one PF, a general retardation of talent, and no outside shooting, the Tinzeroes Blazers finally locked a playoff spot. However the Sonics & 'Wolves went on slumps at the close of the season & I found myself w/ the 3rd seed overall.

In a blending of Cinderella shit and favorable matchups (these Coach Tinzeroes' Blazers played little to no defense, making teams like Dallas and Goldenstate ideal opponents) Portland found itself in the Finals, where I was promptly and summarily SPANKED in five games by the Indiana Pacers2. Season 4 saw another trip to the playoffs and a Western Conference Finals appearance ending in defeat at the hands of the Wolves in 5 (I think the Cavs beat them in the Finals - poor KG).

Season 5's playoff run was a gamer's delight. Nuggets in the first round, Suns in the second, Mavs in the third. Note that I play 20 minute games. One Dallas series game went double overtime and the final score was in the 80s... in 30 minutes of play!! Blazers in six.

Finals appearance part II was vs. Miami, and after two real soul-crushing, fear-of-a-repeat-of-the-Pacers-series defeats, down 0-2, two things happened.

First, entering the series, James Posey was injured and would not return.

Second, in game 3 Antoine Walker & Miles were both injured and confined to the IR for the rest of the series. With few options to begin with, it was Travis Outlaw's time to shine.

And shine he did. After a tight game 3 win Outlaw became the go-to scorer whenever Randolph wasn't on the floor, and was the high scorer in games 4 and 5 (high 20s, I think). Basically Haslem wasn't talented enough to merit being the go-to guy to exploit his size over Outlaw, and Outlaw would just murder Udonis at the offensive end.

And so it was, D. Wade and U. Haslem slumped off the court, at the buzzer of Game Six.

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And thereafter the newly-anointed champeen Blazers hoisted the O'Brien aloft.

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Jack and Dixon up front. Outlaw, obviously, is behind them. Sebastion's holding the O'Brien, and Ratliff, I think, is next to him trying to get his paws on it.

In conclusion, the AI in NBA Live can't handle positional mismatches, victory animation cut scenes are the shit, and after coaching last years Blazers five seasons, and then winning a championship, I feel my work with NBA Live is done. Guys, best of luck but you're on your own.

This personal milestone duly noted, I will now get back to Super Robot Taisen.

-d.d.


1 Mostly in the comments of this post regarding the Reviewieran tendency to play NBA Live with shitty teams.
2 The Blazers only win coming in Game 3, as I recall, perhaps 4. I do remember it was a blowout, strangely. Upon my game five defeat I discovered another unheralded bonus to NBA Live '05: the losers would sit on thier haunches and then be consoled by a teammate, whilst the winners hoisted the O'Brien above their heads. This pleases me immensely.

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