I’m really at a loss for words.
How to begin this one.
A very emotional game.
The way we put our hopes and dreams on the shoulders of athletes.
Music is a little different.
Winning a Grammy isn’t quite the same thing as winning the Super Bowl.
Even if you win Album of the Year.
There’s not going to be a parade through the streets of a major American city.
But we do put our aspirations into the images of our entertainment heroes.
Actors. Actresses. Singers. Bands.
And we love to see them win.
But sports are different.
I know of no league or association which can end its cycle–its season with TWO winners.
And in this sense, sports are unequivocal.
They epitomize winning.
Perhaps even more so than warfare.
And so we had another basketball game tonight.
And another injury.
Our main man.
It’s not clear, but I’ve never seen him come out like this.
At least, not in a long time.
And certainly not in a playoff game.
“What the hell is wrong with Kawhi?!? Why’s he not out there for the last play of the game???”
These thoughts. Everywhere.
And the Spurs ran an ugly, ugly play to finish regulation.
Patty Mills sunk a bank shot, but it was too late.
Tied at 101, Houston and San Antonio went to overtime.
And as TNT went to commercial, Gregg Popovich ripped Pau Gasol a new asshole.
Pau would play just 11 seconds in overtime.
And Kawhi, not at all.
All things considered, things looked bleak for the Spurs.
And the overtime was hit with the ugly stick as well.
Neither team scored in the first 3 minutes of overtime.
That’s 60% of the extra period.
It was miss. MISS. miss. MISS. miss.
You get the picture.
“Five guys who care…”
Popovich found them.
Like the Dirty Dozen.
But there was no Cassavetes. No Bronson.
It was Aldridge, Simmons, Mills, Green, and Ginobili.
Four guards and a power forward.
As Leonard continued to sit on the bench, the crowd in the AT&T Center was palpably nervous…even on the television transmission.
Aldridge had a rough overtime.
But he was out there.
He was one of the guys who got this thing into the extra session to begin with.
18 points. 14 rebounds. 42 minutes!
He fought. Hard.
Jonathon Simmons was magnificent in this game.
In overtime alone, he knocked down both of his high-pressure free-throws.
Add to that an offensive rebound and two HUGE steals.
His defense on James Harden was all-world!
Patty Mills had a rough overtime.
But his defining play in it was when he dove to the floor while defending Eric Gordon.
Patty’s arm was twisted back behind him.
It was a big play.
I can’t even find it in the play-by-play list on ESPN, but it resulted in a jump ball between Mills and Gordon.
Main thing: it evinced effort!
There was another point in overtime when Patty soared like a World Cup soccer player to disrupt a Houston rebound.
These plays added up.
And set the stage for Green and Ginobili.
Danny Green scored the Spurs’ last 7 points.
A huge three-pointer from straightaway.
A driving and-one play on James Harden.
And one of two free-throws.
It reminded me of how Green got to where he is now.
A game in Dallas.
Against the Mavericks.
A “lost cause” sort of game.
And Danny was the one to bring the team back.
I knew then that he was special.
Green has gone on to have much bigger moments, but tonight was a huge performance for him.
Perhaps (PERHAPS) this game give San Antonio a chance to close out the series in 6.
Which might be the only realistic chance of getting Kawhi back for the next round: extra days of rest.
One less game.
But we must note (emphatically!) the effort of one Mr. Manu Ginobili…39-years-old…second-oldest player in the NBA.
It wasn’t a game-winning shot, it was a game-winning block.
And perhaps the most exciting Spurs moment since the Sean Elliott “Memorial Day Miracle” of 1999.
At the Alamodome.
A place I inaugurated (along with many other people) when it opened.
Now, a rather rundown “what could have been”.
And such an unsuitable venue for basketball!
But I remember fondly my uncle.
Who was there.
And who lives no more.
The building stands.
But relatives have passed on.
THESE EMOTIONS…this is what we put into our spectatorship.
And the smart communists like Guy Debord can call us losers.
But we’re fucking doing the best we can.
It’s all we can do…to see the ball go through the hoop…one more time.
A game-winning block.
I think Eric Gordon may even have sunk a 3-ball after time expired.
But it didn’t matter.
The last, best chance…to send it to double-overtime…was in the hands of James Harden.
And he bobbed, and he wove…but Ginobili’s geezer legs stayed with him.
And revenge was best served cold.
Against father time.