Okay, I am here. The game is on tv. I’m trying to infuse myself with some November excitement. No, screw that- MARCH excitement.
I’ll be time stamping by time remaining in each quarter. If you’re watching between 8 and 10 eastern, refresh for new content.
8:04: Miles Plumlee with the first basket on a tip-in! There’s a lot of music playing during the game, and I guess every quarter is ten minutes long.
7:30: Seth Curry with a bomb! This is fun! Basketball!
7:15: Announcers are already saying China gets all the calls. A player they call “an excellent distance shooter” misses two free throws. White Raven with a vicious board, and Rivers gets a hoop plus harm. I think we’re all going to like that partnership.
6:21: Okay, I’ve had some time to gather my thoughts. Observations: The ball has weird white stripes. The side camera angle seems to be really high. The Duke mascot is present. Every time ESPN does a highlight, they show the Chinese flag.
5:44: I bet Austin Rivers will have the most sex of any player during his time at Duke. I’m just saying. I’m sorry if that’s an awkward thought, and maybe he has a steady girlfriend or something, but it just seems to be true.
5:30: The least sex? Any Plumlee.
5:02: Oh, Mason Plumlee, you comic genius. Never change. (He just got stuck under the basket and did about 80 pump fakes before losing the ball and falling over.)
4:50: ESPN just showed a block quote from Rivers. He says he isn’t nervous to play in China, just excited. Now they’re talking about how he wants to “destroy LeBron James.” He does not lack for confidence, does he?
4:39: A Mason miss leads to a Chinese fast break and a Tyler Thornton foul. I’m not even going to try to type the Chinese players’ names, because it will probably just seem racist.
4:27: Hey, this is the first game ever in this arena! And holy shit, I just noticed it has Duke’s logo. Incredible. China can certainly get shit done, I give them that.
3:34: G-chat comment from Ben Cohen: “not even 8:15 on a thursday in august, and mason’s already whiffed an alley-oop, missed two FTs, gone backcourt and gotten blocked. And inspired Doug Gottlieb to say, “that’s mason plumlee in a nutshell.”
2:14: Oh man, Coach K is FIRED UP. As Gottlieb says, “these are the friendship games, Coach.” He must be pissed about yesterday’s refereeing. No way he gets this mad this quickly otherwise.
1:53: Hairston takes a charge! Now that’s some bona fide…DUKE BASKETBALL! (Ducks to avoid hurled objects from everyone in Chapel Hill.)
1:08: Commenter Tara thinks Miles Plumlee gets more action than I give him credit for. What do you know, Tara??
31.4: First Alex Murphy sighting. He’s already been diving on the floor and he just missed a three before committing a foul. I saw him make a surprising dunk in the Pro-Am, so I’m cautiously excited to see what he brings.
30.6: This Chinese guys is 7-2, and he shoots free throws like it. Has anyone made a foul shot this whole game? Is the ball made of grease?
End First: Duke up 15-10. Sloppy play all around. Commenter Brian says the following: “Gotta be honest here. Miles will be better than Mason this year for one reason and one reason alone: He seems to understand that he has limits in his game and knows his role decently well. Mason hasn’t quite gotten there.” Agreed.
9:31: Doug Gottlieb just talked about a move called “the kinky step.” Might have misheard that. Hope not.
8:50: Austin Rivers hits a three! 20-10 Duke.
8:48: Gotta be honest – I’m a little disappointed that the team’s playing the U-23 team. Sorta takes the air out of the first three games.
8:38: “The dunk- sorta- by Qin Jee Kown,” says the play-by-play guy, whose name I’m not sure of yet. Also, I violated my rule of not trying to type the Chinese names.
7:26: A Plumlee to Plumlee moment just happened! Also, earlier, we had our first Double PlumBlock of the season. Always a great time.
7:13: Gorgeous pass from Curry to Rivers, but the newbie can’t finish.
6:44: WHOA! Huge 8-0 run by China to tie the game. Is this going to be like a reverse Rocky IV, where the communist underdog wins us over and we start chanting their names by the end?
6:20: No, because their names are too hard to remember.
5:35: CAW! The White Raven cans a baseline jumper. Duke only up two and looking really, really logey. Why are you spell-checking logey, WordPress? Is it logy? (Breathless anticipation while I wait for a red line to appear….) Logy is clear!
4:49: The coaches are wearing white short-sleeved polos with black pants, by the way. Thought you’d like to know. And Coach K is still pissed as China misses the and-1. 27-24 Duke.
4:10: White Raven from deep! Duke extends the lead. I wish they would play traditional Chinese music over the loudspeaker instead of American stuff. It’d be funnier AND more poignant.
5:20: Always interesting to see which commercials ESPN airs during this time of day. Right now a Gerber commercial about planning for college is on. So apparently they think parents of young children are watching. Now there’s some yuppie jeep commercial.
3:24: 30-26 Duke after a Team China lay-in. Announcers are talking about who will start at point for Duke this year. They say there’s no set answer, but it has to be Rivers, right?
3:10: Speaking of him, he just went down and possibly hurt his ankle. I had a real moment of panic, but it looks like he’s okay.
2:35: A Chinese fan is holding a sign saying, “I was in K-Ville, 2011.” Somehow touching.
2:35: Ben doesn’t think Austin will play point, and he’s probably right now that I think about it. But who will? He’s saying Seth as a Scheyer type PG.
1:28: FANTASTIC pass by Dawkins to Kelly for the two. Duke up 32-26. Also, whoever is operating the scoreboard here is really shitting the bed.
34.1: Kelly with 9 points in the quarter as he extends Duke’s lead to 8. We got a quick shot of the Team China cheerleaders running on the court there before commercial. I wonder if it’s also their second-string cheerleading squad.
9.5: More talk about the biased refs from the play-by-play guy, who some twitter folks tell me is named C.A. Dillon. A big man for China cuts it to 6 with two FTs.
Halftime: Kelly missed a three, and it’s a 36-30 halftime lead. You get the feeling they’ll probably win this one by 15, but maybe the refs will make this interesting. I’m half rooting for that, just to see Coach K go nuts. For now, I need some cereal.
10:00: Brian saying what we’re all thinking in the comments: “Chinese referees, in China, in a globally-televised game. If you don’t think that they’re being threatened in order to keep this game at least close, you’re crazy. The Great Chinese National Team (basketball being their national sport more than anything else) getting crushed by a college basketball team from the USA, all while being broadcast around the world? That would be a national embarrassment for them. There’s a reason the calls have been pretty bad.”
9:13: How terrible a name is “The Friendship Games”? Really terrible? Only kinda terrible? Is it a good name? Is it a great name? I’m losing my mind.
8:30: China with a quick run to get within two. Gottlieb basically calling Rivers lazy. Coach K yanks him. Yikes.
8:12: White Raven with a pretty left hook. He’s looking quite good. I also dig the beard, makes him look like a cool eastern European.
6:26: This is some ugly basketball. And I don’t know why Tyler Thornton is on Duke. Seth Curry nails a two. Duke up 4.
5:36: Gottlieb says Duke wants Miles Plumlee to be like Zoubek this year. That would be great, but he would need to have stopped selling out at every pump fake and committing stupid fouls going for steals. I don’t think any of the Plumlees have the mental consistency of Zoubek.
4:40: Mason with a sweet follow-up jam on a Miles miss.
4:05: Bizarre foul call on Tyler Thornton as he gets thrown down by a huge guy. I really think by game 3 Coach K will get a technical. And now he’s riling up the Shanghai crazies!
3:24: Chinese three cuts the lead to three, but a nice post move by Miles pushes it back to five. Can he actually have a post game this year?
2:48: Tyler Thornton can’t blink without having a foul called on him. That’s his 9th of the game, I think. In international rules you get 14.
2:15: Ryan Kelly looks SO GOOD. I’m psyched about him. Beautiful turnaround jumper! Now Rivers to Mason for a basket and foul. Is this where we start to pull away?
1:42: And Mason’s over-exuberant foul habit is back in full swing! Any time he makes a good play on offense, he’s like 80 percent more likely to get too excited and commit a foul on the defensive side. Hate to see that.
1:02: “If you sit on your backside, suddenly you use your brain,” says Doug Gottlieb after a Rivers three. That’s the first time that phrase has been used since 1939.
2.0: Runner from Curry, and Duke’s up 9 going into the 4th.
10:00: Still not seeing much flow or continuity from the guys, but I suppose that’s a lot to ask this early. If Curry had nailed that three after Rivers made his, it would have been the first little mini-example of positive rhythm and momentum.
9:34: Ryan Kelly is ON FIRE. Or “straight up balling,” per Gottlieb. Two baskets put Duke up 13. Is it the year of the Raven in China? I should look that up.
8:23: Commenter “W” says: “White Raven should be running point. He can do anything as long as he has a beard. Then again, he could be like Zoubek – he DOES have the mental consistency. Let the Plumlees serve as battering rams, the White Raven will swoop in and collect the rebounds, the points, the ladies, the respect, the accolades, the et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.”
8:19: And William, with the other side of the debate: “However, I don’t think that the Plumblebee’s gets the least sex for the sheer fact that Ryan Kelly is also on the team.”
7:36: By the way, it’s the year of the Golden Rabbit in China, not the year of the White Raven. YET.
6:50: Mason falls over trying to get a board. 10-point game, 62-52.
6:23: OH MY, WHITE RAVEN! HE CHANGED THE CHINESE ZODIAC CALENDAR! IT’S HIS YEAR! 21 points on the night as he nails a three and basically puts this one away for good.
5:02: Mason with one of his patented and surprising awesome passes. Dawk is the recipient, and the good guys are up 13.
5:00: Also, this play by play guy isn’t CA Dillon, whoever that is. It’s like Mark Brown, or something. Something like that. Doesn’t matter. Let’s move on.
4:12: Wonderful behind-the-head pass from Curry to Miles. Two foul shots. Nails the first. Misses the second.
3:53: Bucket and a foul for China, and they have a chance to get it back within seven. Perhaps I spoke too soon?
3:36: Feelin like one of those possessions where if we score, it’s a back-breaker…
3:20: And Curry sticks a three! Sense of the moment! Nerve! Cajones!
3:00: WHOA! Huge bit of info from commenter Duke12: “Did you know the White Raven has been dating Bill Cowher’s daughter since high school?” Can anyone verify this?
2:30: Miles Plumlee with a great lefty hook. Is he- gasp!- turning into a basketball player? Gottlieb points out that Wojo is the big man coach, then laughs as if this is a comic fact rather than a tragic one.
2:05: Sick dunk by Plumdog Millionaire (Miles). China’s full court press is just not doing the trick.
1:38: Dawk with a three for good measure! 75-63 Duke.
1:17: Sloppy finish to the game, and another bogus call favoring China.
32.3: White Raven tries one more for good measure, but misses. He will finish as the leading scorer with 21. Timeout China, though I have no idea why.
32.3: Chris Cusack confirms it: Ryan Kelly and Bill Cowher’s daughter are dating. Apparently Cowher has even been to a couple games at Cameron. How did I miss that?
Game: 78-66 Duke. Good win, if sloppy and a little lethargic. Thanks for joining us.