HBO KOs NBA

The NBA picked a bad time to be horrible. On the heels of the least-watched Game 1 in NBA Finals history, the San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers produced another snoozer in Game 2 Sunday night as the home team sashayed to a 25-point halftime lead and -- yawn -- eventually took a 2-0 series lead. (It’s over, right? I mean, nobody coughs up 2-0 leads in the Finals, right?)

Worse, Tony Soprano plays for neither team. When the ratings come out later today I’ll bet you a nickel HBO’s finale whacks NBA’s Finals. While The Sopranos gave us two teams waging a violent and passionate struggle for power capped by one of the most unique, tense, creative and memorable endings in TV history, Spurs-Cavs is producing so little intensity and interest their games are making June feel like November.

While I was on vacation in rustic Surfside last week with four other couples, talk rarely--no, take that back -- never winded around to the Finals. Last Thursday’s Game 1 passed unnoticed. Maybe because anyone with a basketball IQ larger than his shoe size realizes LeBron’s Cavs are no match for the battle-tested Spurs. More likely, it’s because San Antonio -- the Mavs’ biggest rival -- is about to hoist what we all thought was Dallas’ trophy, and nothing’s more painful than to see your enemy take your girlfriend to the prom.

If, like me, you tuned out the NBA early in the second quarter over to The Sopranos and are still evaluating theories over the climax, I’ve got some enlightening news to help us all figure out what happened to who and why. Talked to my industry buddy in Hollywood this morning, a guy who rubs elbows with the guys who rub elbows with series director David Chase. He says that when Tony looked up in the final scene he saw... --Richie Whitt


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