Essentially it boils down to this. Winners win.
To elucidate a bit further, I’ve always loved when my Louisville Cardinals recruit a kid who has played for a state champion. I’ll settle for slightly less talent, and slightly more know how to close the deal when it matters.
Okay, I admit, it didn’t really work out so well with Elisha Justice. But that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.
Which I thought of last night, when Al Horford made the play that’s going to be the pivotal one, when Atlanta finally finishes off the Wizards and advances to the Eastern Conference finals.
That German PG of the Hawks, you know, the one with that slight streak of blonde hair, stormed to the bucket on Atl’s last possession, but his layup rolled off the rim. At which juncture, Horford made a winners win play, leaping over and through the phalanx of other potential rebounders, fellows from both squads, securing the rock, then dropping it through the twine for the deciding deuce.
And, as a reminder, and to validate my invocation of the pet theory espoused above, recall that Al Horford was a member of the Florida Gators back to back NC2A titles in ’06 and ’07.1
This all was subsequent to what might have been another series shifting momentum moment. Which was The Truth’s “I Call Game!” redux, when Paul Pierce drained a trey for a Wiz lead.
But, as we are wont to say too much, too often, eight plus seconds in an NBA game is an eternity.
* * * * *
Now, here comes the mea culpa.
I didn’t see Horford’s winning bucket, nor Atlanta’s stunning 4th Q comeback in real time, only on replay.
But, it’s not because I wasn’t watching the game. I was indeed. But I was simultaneously — actually clicking back and forth — watching the Rangers vs. Capitals in Game 7 of their sizzling Stanley Cup series.
Remembering, as I stayed with pucks more than hoops for perhaps the first time ever, what Tim Cowlishaw had pointed out earlier in the evening on “Around the Horn.”
Which, to paraphrase, is that there’s nothing in any other sport to match the intensity and excitement of OT in a Game 7 of a Stanley Cup playoff round.
It’s the harum scarum, up and back, by the second twists and turns of hockey that make the situation so compelling.
So, after Pierce’s potential game winner, I flipped over to hockey, became engrossed, forgetting momentarily to click back for the final 8 seconds of b-ball. By the time I got back, the Hawks were jumping for joy, celebrating Horford’s heroics.
In case you missed it, NY’s Rangers won in that first sudden death OT, improving on one of the most righteous records in all of sports.
The Rangers, in all their history — they are one of the Original Six — have never lost a Stanley Cup playoff Game 7 at home in the Gaaaahhhhhden.
They’re 7-0 all-time.
Which is damn nifty, but perhaps not quite as much as hitting the winning basket, then heading home and celebrate with Miss Universe.
— Seedy K