High drama, good games and not a bad night all around
Overtime drama, last second wins, closeout games and a potentially epic series coming as result?
Yeah, not a bad night at all.
On a roster that includes Manu Ginobili, Matt Bonner, Tony Parker and Richard Jefferson you call a play to save your season with 1.7 seconds left in an elimination game where the first option was rookie Gary (Not Curly) Neal? You’ve got to give Gregg Popovich credit, no?
And Neal was pretty appreciative of the chance when he talked about it after the game and you just have to know he’ll be full of confidence should the situation ever arise again:
“It’s kind of a great feeling; Coach Pop draws the play up and you see you’re going to get the shot and nobody looks around and questions it or anything like that It was great walking out of the huddle and your teammates are happy with you getting the shot and expecting you to make it.
"That’s a great feeling.”
But look at it this way, too.
The Spurs entirely botched the possession before when they blew an inbounds play that ended up with Manu hitting that crazy three-turned-two in the corner.
If they execute that one precisely, who knows what happens. Maybe they tie the game and the Grizzlies have a shot that they make to win and we’re here talking about the end of an era instead of the chance of resurrection in San Antonio.
I will say this about Manu, too.
He’s like some basketball artisan and the court is his workplace.
How many times last night did he snake through the lane where there was no space? How many times did it look like that right elbow might not work only to have him cross over beat someone off the dribble?
He made one play where he went down the lane – to his left, because he always goes to his left, it seems – went behind the back and finished a layup. It was so effortless you didn’t have time to appreciate the greatness of the move.
An artisan, I tell you.
You know how you’re driving somewhere and a song comes on the radio and you go, ‘man, I haven’t heard this in a long time, I should put it on a list of all-time greats?’
Well, if you get a chance to listen to John Lennon’s brilliant Mind Games any time soon, you should. Made the trek home yesterday afternoon really nice.
And now, if you have that song in your head all day, I feel I will have accomplished something.
Totally cool electronic conversation:
Me: Holy crap. Golden State whacked Keith Smart.
Him: Saw that. Word is Glen Silvestri didn’t care for his coaching style.
Man, I have some funny friends, don’t I?
So, we finally get what we want:
I’ll have a lot more on this later tonight and in the paper tomorrow – that’s allegedly going be my gig today – but suffice it to say, this could be a great one.
Or it could turn into a quick-finishing dog of a series if the Heat don’t get off to better starts than they did against the Sixers.
It’s one thing to come back against a young team getting its playoff legs, it’s an entirely different matter against a team like Boston.
Hmm, I smell a theme for a setup story?
What’s longer, or more painful?
Run-up to the wedding or a UFC news conference?
Man, I have never seen a more polite group of men whose sole intention on the weekend is to beat each other senseless in a long time than I did when I saw a bit of that dog and pony show yesterday.
Okay, a long-time Irregular brought this up the other night and I figured I should do it now.
Q: Greetings Doug! As requested during the IGBT, a list of who you deem to be the top 5 vilified players in the NBA. Inspired by HWSNBN, feel free to include inactive players. If anything, it'll prompt some of us young ‘uns to look them up.
Natalie M, Brampton
A: Here’s the thing. I’m not sure any group of fans holds a grudge longer than the fans of HOTH, at least not by any anecdotal evidence I can find by covering the league and travelling around. Friends and colleagues are amazed, actually, by the vitriol that’s spewed here. But that’s for another discussion.
If I had to go with five current guys, it’d have to be LeBron, Bosh, Carter, Turk (sense a theme?) and probably Carlos Boozer back in both Cleveland and Salt Lake.
I really can’t speak to the past all that much, although I do recall Bill Walton not being loved when he went back to Portland after leaving the Blazers and I’ll have to ask Wayne Embry the next time I see him how Kareem’s reception was in Milwaukee.
The thing about the past is that players seldom – if ever – left of their own accord so there wasn’t much angst.
How do you think they’re feeling in Seattle today?
Yeah, pretty bad, I imagine, at least some of them.
You’ve got a Sonics nee Thunder team that left after a 20-62 season two years ago and all of a sudden it’s riding the sublime skills of Kevin Durant to the second round of the playoffs, where they are likely to be favoured over Memphis or San Antonio?
Gotta hurt at some level.
But you have to give Oklahoma City some credit. Team’s really good, fans are over-the-top nuts and I can just guess at the electricity that’ll be in the air whenever they start the next series.
And after what Durant did last night – 41 points overall, all of the last nine his team scored – what’s not to be happy about?
We don’t know when their next series will begin – Sunday if Memphis wins Game 6 on Friday, not ‘til Tuesday if the Spurs win – but you can imagine they’re chomping at the bit to get started.
Okay, listen up:
This is on behalf of bartenders and restaurant managers and people who scrape out a living serving others:
If you’re going out to watch a game, SPEND MONEY.
Not a lot, but maybe buy some food or two or three drinks over the course of a three or four hour span, it’s the right and honourable thing to do. And if you don’t want to order something, you ought to leave the most significant tip you’ve ever left.
If you’re going to go sit in some public house for that length of time and nurse a soft drink or one pint, you should be asked to leave.
Rant on behalf of friends, over.
Hey, you know what?
I need some mail. Badly.