|Defense For The Win|
This is pharma- ceutical grade Game, between two teams that are perfect for each other, with everything you could hope to see.
Two of the three best players in the world, Stephen Curry and James Harden, trading shot for shot and play for play, amazingly different players producing damn near the same results.
Big surly Dwight Howard and Andrew Bogut having big games against each other, coming back after injury and adversity.
Benches that are good enough to make runs, and sketchy enough to give them up. Comebacks from big deficits, back-breaking mistakes and plays in crunch time, and a crowd that's just out of their minds all the way through. No intentional fouling, or coaches overstepping their bounds. Very little in the way of flopping or fouling or anything else that distracts from The Power Of Hoop.
If these games were just being broadcasted by someone other than the World Wide Lemur chuckleheads, I think I might be dreaming it all. I want the Dubs to win because I love them, but I want them to do it in seven, just to get Moar Hoop. MOAR HOOP.
Anyway... Houston is now 0-6 against the Warriors this season, but were just a play away from taking control of the series tonight, with a ferocious comeback that was all about them, rather than mistakes by the Dubs. Harden just missed triple doubles the first two games, despite strong on the ball defense. As for the ultimate sequence, when Harden couldn't get a shot off while down one, with the world ready to chastise the Rockets for not calling a timeout... you can't take the ball away from him in that moment, not with the Rockets having an odd-man advantage on a break. The on the ball defense by the Dubs in that moment was frantic and as clean as you get late, and there's no way that Klay Thompson and Curry make that play before this year.
If the Warriors can get past turnovers, maybe they make this series short. They are, just like Houston, good enough to win on the road, and the Rockets are filled with guys who have erratic play in their past. But the reality is that this one is going to go deep, and be amazing, and there's no way the Rockets just roll over and die, having already come back from 3-1 in the second round, just to get here. Golden State has simply held serve. I'd be stunned if this one doesn't go seven.
A final note on this... the post that I shared on the corporate blog the other day, about the NBA becoming bigger than the NFL, has gone viral on LinkedIn, with thousands of views, dozens of shares and likes and comments, and most of the comments are coming from NBA doubters. (My favorite comment, just because it encapsulates everything that you have to love about the Internet, and no, I am not making this up... "I didn't read the article, but this will never happen. respectfully." I have no words, or at least, none that the commenter will read.)
The nature of multi-game series, you see, just makes sure that the Association will never be as big as the winner take all NFL. Casual fans will never buy into events where you can lose today and win tomorrow.
Think about that for a moment. Compare it to other forms of entertainment. Short-form, maybe without drama, beats long. Less product, more open to variables and swings of luck or referee malfeasance, is better than more. Amazing games with career-defining duels between the world's best players... don't matter because they aren't Game Seven.
Let's bring that out a little further. Your best moment at college has to be graduation. Your best sex ever has to be on your wedding night. Your best meal has to be the one where you spent the most money. The best movie you will ever see is the one that makes the most money at the box office. Your best job will be the one with the biggest paycheck. And so on, and so on.
How much nonsense do you have to believe, really, just to say I Like What I Like And I'm Right And You're Wrong?
Tonight might have been the best basketball game of the rest of your life. This might be the best sentence I ever write, or the best one you will ever read. The future is something that is promised to none of us, lest of all games that are close and well-played.
How hard is it, really, to just watch the game and be present in the moment?