Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Bulls and Celtics Will Make It A Best Of Eight

Anyone want to still argue with me on how this is the best series ever?

Tonight in Chicago, the teams went to extra time for the fourth time in six games, which now means they've played seven periods of overtime, or an extra 35 minutes of basketball. After the triple overtime game 7 (what, you think it could possibly be shorter?), they'll have an extra game from just the overtime.

I have no words, really, for how absurd this series has become, how much these teams really hate each other by now, how often the rest of the NBA playoff schedule has been pre-empted by this razor dance, or many times when a team has needed to make a big shot to prolong the drama, they have.

How crazy are these teams? Ray Allen had 51 points in 59 minutes, with any number of flat-out crazy makes in the extra time. Paul Pierce was diving into the stands for loose balls with two minutes left in the third overtime. Brad Miller canned two critical free throws in the second overtime, with the weight of the memories all over him. You got 21 lead changes, 17 ties, nearly four hours of time on the clock, and I'm not even sure this was the best game of the series, because they've all started to melt together by now. The Celtics can't possibly have the legs to win this by now. The Bulls can't possibly complete the upset on the road in Game 7 with such paltry post-season experience. And there's dozens of other ways to talk about it, really. I'm giddy.

With 40 seconds left in the third overtime, Joakim Noah made a steal on Paul Pierce, made it all the way to the rack, and collected the slam with Pierce's ejection foul. The kind of play that, if this is the beginning of the end for the Celtics, will be the signature moment of fail.. but because this series is something that would get you laughed out of an office had you put it in a screenplay, Eddie House then scored for the first time in the game to tighten it right back up. It led to a block for the ages from Derrick Rose on Rajon Rondo that should have ended it, but hell no -- still a one-point game, because this series is just that way. Rose then missed what would have been clinching free throws, but Rondo misses from 40 at the buzzer, and that's your ball game. Bulls had 'em all the way.

How does Rose get that lift for the block in his 59th minute of playing time in this game? How can he then miss the free throws? What was Pierce thinking to commit his sixth foul on the Noah steal and dunk? How much is Brad Miller feeling it for going back to the line repeatedly in overtime and converting over and over again? When did John Salmons become a basketball player, could be possibly do that on the road?

And over and over and over and over, series without end. I hate both of these teams, for the most part, and I still feel like I could write a book about this series. It's been just that good.

I'm sorry for people who aren't NBA fans, when it comes to this series. As much as I love the MLB and the NFL, there just isn't anything that compares to this kind of series, just building and building on itself. Football can't get this level of knowledge of each other as teams, since you can only play the same team three times in 19 games. Baseball doesn't have this level of lather-rinse-repeat hate, since the pitchers constantly change. The closest you get to this is hockey, especially with the extra time, but since so much of that is dependent on your goaltender, and the goalies never face each other directly, even that's not the same. This series is so good, I was almost grateful that my team stopped playing tonight, because even I was having a hard time watching that series over this one, especially at the end.

People talk about how NBA players lose their legs after 1,000 games; by that standard, I'm pretty sure both of these teams are going to still be gassed from this when the 09-10 series begins next November. They also talk about how, if the Bulls somehow survive Game 7 in Boston, how they will have become the mystical Team That No One Wants To Face, because they clearly are about as much fun to face as the Spartans in a tight space.

But all of that is for another day. We're getting a Game 7 for the best series ever, the way we're supposed to, and even the fact that the rest of the NBA playoffs will be anticlimactic after it doesn't matter in the here and now. See you Saturday.


The Truth said...


Are you kidding me with these overtimes? With Ray Allen turning back into Jesus Shuttlesworth, cause damn, He Got Game! Sideshow Bob turning into a main stage act all of a sudden. Two poor (IMO) coaches who are suddenly coaching their players up. You even have a snarky little villian in Rondo who hasn't been this annoying since he played Kenny on the Cosby show. Too bad this is a round 1 matchup because the rest of the playoffs just won't compare.

DMtShooter said...

Or that the survivor isn't going anywhere special, given that this is The LeBron Year. Carpe diem hoop.

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