By Gary Sussman
Man vs. (NBA) Food
The Playoff Edition
Every night, all night…and into the morning…unless you’re my friend Potsy slouching in the Simi Valley. It’s NBA Playoff time! Lebron, Russ, James, Steph…no last names…as if we’re talking Cher, Mick and Bruce!! So where are the picks, who will advance, is the Bay Area too shark infested for others to survive? Well, for those opinions and all things hardwood, I learned a long time ago…stay in your lane! If you want picks, research the law firm of Simmons, Stein, Mannix and Aldridge…there’ll be no shortage of breakdowns and throwdowns, rim attacks and who to hack. No, my lane leads to only one place…media dining, where if it’s free, it’s me. This is the first edition of the culinary breakdown of these two months of hoop devotion, where we bow at the altar of Adam….not Silver, but Richman. Yes, we will crown the NBA Champion, not by who’s the last team tickin’…but by who has the best chicken!!
Where’s Joey Chestnut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Boston vs. Chicago
Let me start by saying this is based on regular season delights. The website budget only approves Uber travel between Piscataway and Rahway, even though teams bump it up during the playoffs (First Round vs. Milwaukee in 2003, Ernie G provided a Bar Mitzvah-like experience, complete with ice sculpture…The Tribe steppin’ up…but I digress). This is a very tough matchup…both with excellent choices, hot entrees, good salad bar…Boston with All-Irish Madge behind the counter, Heinsohn holding court. But in the end, the Bulls have Dewey Egbert coffee…the perfect way to end a meal. Bulls advance.
Cleveland vs. Indiana
Several years back, Pacers management dropped the MOAB on their press room, transforming a fine dining experience into hovering over the hot plate in your dorm room. They have slowly climbed back to respectability, but are no match for the Cavs…more choices than Jerry’s Famous Deli (Google the menu if needed). Cavs advance.
Toronto vs. Milwaukee
Neither place is where you’re dining for Mother’s Day. Milwaukee, like Indiana, went spartan several years back, while the Raptors have a few hot dishes…couple of decent desserts….and pizza. Say no more. Raptors advance.
Washington vs. Atlanta
Another matchup of “Should we eat at Subway or Quiznos tonight”? The Wiz upgraded from thinking a Pop Tart was a delicacy to solid, with the ever-present Wilford Brimley look-a-like still deciding that one piece of chicken will suffice. Atlanta is very edible, with real plates such a bonus. But in the end, the Wiz have the halftime ice cream bar… Nobody beats the Wiz…at least for now. Wizards advance.
Chicago vs. Washington
The ice cream cannot overcome the variety, the desserts, the salad selection, the fruit…and the peanut butter and jelly make-your-own. You don’t have to eat it…but you appreciate the optic.
Cleveland vs. Toronto
This smackdown is worse than getting Canadian change!
Cleveland vs. Chicago
Not only do the Cavs have everything from dogs to chicken to salad to carving station…they have containers of fat free milk…TKO!
The King is Champ!
Golden State vs. Portland
This will disappoint the masses, but the Blazers crush. For years, Warriors were BYOD (Bring your own dinner) or risk a Yom Kippur-like fasting experience. The cuisine has improved, but it’s no match for Blazer-mania, where you get superb hot and cold, salad bar, cookies…and popcorn! Sorry Steph.
San Antonio vs. Memphis
You would think that the town known as the King of BBQ would make that sucker drip in the press room…not happening, Elvis. Great people, modest presentation. Spurs, as expected, do not go overboard, but are very solid. Like when I get my chicken Caesar wrap from Jay’s Deli. Not fancy…solid.
Houston vs. OKC
Just like the MVP vote, this is the toughest WC culinary matchup. Houston very respectable with the tasty hot dish, decent salad….and always, always, the hot apple crisp. OKC gives you a little bit of everything…and delish iced tea. In the end, as tough as the Russ vs. The Beard vote will be…the fact that the press room is right next door to the locker room gives the nod to James and Company. Never underestimate lazy!
Los Angeles vs. Utah
The Clips may play in the shadow of the Lakers…but not in the pre-game festivities. All good all the time…plenty of eats, plenty of sweets, plenty of treats. The Jazz will get you through the game…the Clips will take you to the plane!
Portland vs. LA
A superb semi-final Food Network showdown…what would Anthony Bourdain do? In the end, the Clips have the ice cream bar…complete with chocolate chip morsels and Oreo toppings. I love LA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Houston vs. San Antonio
Remember the Alamo…but not for the food! Spurs are methodical in their winning ways…but that can’t hold up against the apple crisp.
LA vs. Houston
When it comes to the cuisine…and at this level…Houston, we have a problem!!!
The Clips with just too much firepower…and the chocolate chip morsels. Stop the madness!
The Clips are champs!
Cleveland vs. LA
The King is not going to be happy.
But with all due respect, the dining ambience on Lake Erie is akin to Johnny Depp in ‘Black Mass’.
In LA…as expected…every meal is a party…only thing missing is a Pinkberry in the corner!
Let The Sun Shine In!!!
The Clips win the Richman Trophy!! I’ll pass along the good news to L Frank.
Serena is pregnant, and will not compete until 2018…that loud shriek you just heard came from Sharapova.
0-2…Didn’t make the cut in the ’30 for 30’ on the XFL(I did PA for the Hitmen)…and now I get no royalties for the epic on Cal…if they do one on Mike O’Koren, I have a shot.
Kingman played 16 years…hit .236…smacked 442 homers….Judge fans, please step to the front of the subway car if you sign off right now on these stats.
photo: lehighvalleylive.com, wegman’s.com, haagendazs.us,