Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Review of the Washington Generals game on ESPN2

I watched the repeat of the Washington Generals vs Harlem Globetrotters game last night. Has anyone ever seen such biased commentary? They should fire John Sciambi, he was so unprofessional. I am as mad as I have ever been! And I am over it!

In all seriousness, I really enjoyed the game. Although not nearly as good on tv as it is live, seeing the Generals play the Globetrotters will never fail to bring a smile to my face. They had all the classics, globetrotter football, the famous weave, the bucket of confetti that you know is coming but would still be disappointed if they ever took it out. All of it.

The 4-point shot does add a nice new layer to the teams games. When I first heard they were doing it I assumed, in the continued mission of the Generals not to overshadow the Globetrotters, that the Washington Generals team would not actually try for 4-point shots. So I was pleasantly surprised that both teams took 4-point shots throughout the game.

Although I was shocked that the Generals started attempting those shots before the Globetrotters did. They may have been missing on purpose at that point, but some of those baskets were pretty close and it would have been bad if the Generals had scored the first ever 4-point shot before the Trotters did. Well, it would have been bad for some. I of course would have loved it, but it was better for most that it didn't work out that way to be certain.

The penalty box thing was a bit much, glad that didn't catch on. But it set up some really impressive shots for the Trotters whenever their players came out of it. Although I don't think it was a trick by the Generals as Sciambi said EVERY FIVE MINUTES. I mean, is anyone really surprised that the Generals are better behaved? I didn't see them plowing people down or riding anyones back now did I?

I also got to add that the 2 on 5 keep away dribbling bits both teams performed was a cool variant on a classic trick. And for anyone who thinks the Generals didn't perform that with the Trotters, just like the weave the trotters didn't do it against themselves. Just like a great dance it takes both parties to make it work.

The interviews they did right after the commercials were also a nice touch. Dizzy's impersonations were spot on and Speciak K's story of getting his college degree was a bit heavy handed but kept with the Trotters goal of inspiring others to bring out the best in themselves.

The Generals did their usual routine of playing good, solid offence but lacking in the defense. Even though I knew the Generals weren't going to win since it was a repeat game (and the more obvious reasons) it was awesome they brought the game up to a tie near the end and made the Globetrotters work for their win. It was definitley an exciting game both from the basketball and entertainment value aspects.

One thing that did bother me was the lack of putting the score and time on the screen like in other sports games. Not that failing to keeping up with the score in a televised Generals/Globetrotter game is anything new. At least the announcing kept us informed on how close the game was. But in this day and age when television can put a scoreboard on the corner of the screen it wouldn't seem like it would be that hard to do it. Would add some realism to the game at least.

Although I sense that this game was edited heavily, the second quarter in particular seemed to end awfully early. So that was probably at least part of the reason. Plus, you put the time in the corner it makes it clear how often it is stopped during a Generals game. Still, just once I would like to see both teams get the respect of being covered slightly more like a "real" basketball game.

Despite my earlier complaint of the commentary it actually worked pretty good. Sciambi did a good job of putting over the Globetrotters which was his job. And him mentioning the Generals 1971 win, especially when the game was tied near the end, was a nice touch. Also having one commentator is usually a bad thing, but in the case of a Generals/Globetrotter game it works well because there isn't as much unnecessary chatter when the Globetrotters and Generals are doing the entertaining portion of the game.

There was still some though. I know it goes against broadcasting instinct to have "dead air" but commentators never seem to realize that when the Globetrotters are performing their comedy bits the best thing anyone can do is pipe down and let the act speak for itself.

Still, despite some minor complaints it was a good game, and a good night of nostalgia. Which as anyone will tell you, is all you can ever ask when you watch those two teams do their thing.

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