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magic realism

Draymond Green, Steph, and KD Combine for Full-Court Basketball Masterpiece

This play featured a full court pass and an over-the-head lob for an alley-oop.

by Corbin Smith
06 December 2016, 4:57pm

Last night's Warrior routing of the Indiana Pacers was probably the most eventful 36-point blowout possible. The Warriors scored 142 points, which is, like, 20 points more than a ton of points. It's so many points that it qualifies for that rarest of point totals: "A Shitload." (See also: an 80-Point NFL Game, 8 Goal Soccer match, or 17 Runs in a baseball game.) But even by the standard of a bona fide Shitloader, this guy was overloaded with incident. Klay Thompson, a default human being, went for 60 on 33 shots in 29 minutes.

It was impressive for certain, in that way Commander Data quickly building a model is impressive. Sure, it's an amazing feat of engineering, but it lacks the essential qualities of life, the feeling of something being fed by the Sun and the Earth expressing itself. You cannot ignore that Thompson is, fundamentally, an unfeeling robot, who cannot love or reproduce or feel even the slightest bit of pleasure when he touches a bong to his lips and takes in its sweet vapors.

Thankfully, Klay's outburst wasn't the only basketball moment of note buried in the sands of this Shitloader. You see, there was a moment of true and undeniable beauty, a truly perfect basketball play, tucked deep into its folds:

Zaza Pachulia's tip to Draymond's hands, acrooooooooooss the court, to a streaking Curry, who in a moment that barely feels like a whole unit of time, tosses it over his head and back to a streaking Durant who dunks it in. The only way this play could possibly encompass more elements of fun basketball is if, somehow, there was a giant white center sadly flailing under Durant as he slams it home (hopefully, someday, science will allow us to stick Shawn Bradley down there). It has everything: a complete engagement of the whole court at once, running, improvisational magic (TWICE!), and feats of amazing athleticism (How did Durant get there so fast!?). It is a genuine masterpiece of basketball artistry and engineering, in ways large and small.

The only thing, basketball play or not, I should think to compare it to is "Christina's World," Andrew Wyeth's 1948 masterpiece, currently hanging in the Museum of Modern Art in midtown Manhattan. The expanse of the space, the sheer monumental length that Draymond manages to capture with his arm-brush. The devastating sense of the individual in the broader world—observing and existing in it like Zaza, the trigger-man (our Christina), floating back and forth after the dunk, not quite sure what just happened, merely stunned by the world he is inhabiting—with the Oracle Arena a stand-in for a field of wheat. The sheer attention to detail, the subtlety of the strokes in the wheat, indistinguishable from each other when viewed up close (it's one of the most amazing technical paintings I've seen in person), the way Steph slips through that tiniest of cognitive and physical windows to deliver that lob. And, of course, Durant soaring into the sky like a fucking condor, snatching the ball and driving it into the rim, is the exclamation point that seals the play's place in the American canon of basketball paintings, always on view at MoMA, rarely loaned out to, uh, other sports, I guess?

I confess that the metaphor appears to have fallen apart and left me like Zaza, wandering in the backcourt of my own blog post. Anyway, pretty fucking dope basketball play. Five stars.