Back when I was in school in Boston in the pre-2004 days (yeah, I’m that fucking old and I don’t need you to remind me), I used to joke with the Red Sox fans in my circle that somehow the fact that the Sox lost the 1975 World Series had been erased from the record books thanks to Carlton Fisk’s homer. That it was such a profound moment, burned in every baseball fan’s memory, really anything that happened after it didn’t matter. And in the ensuing decades, which highlight gets played more? What do people identify with from that series?
Maybe a first-round series doesn’t compare to a championship one, but I’m fairly sure what we’re going to remember from this Nuggets-Blazers series.
Yeah, the Blazers didn’t win. Yeah, Damian Lillard put in an all-time, “Why Did I Bother If No One Else Was Going To?” performance. But that performance. All you could do was wave your hands in disgust/wonder/giggle-fit about what went down in the fourth quarter and overtimes, due to the sheer absurdity
I don’t know if the numbers do it justice. Dame Time went for 55 on just 24 shots, made a record 12 threes, and added 10 assists just for the smell of it. But that doesn’t really tell most of the story. It all started with this to send the game into OT:
Then Lillard would score the last 13 Blazers points in the first overtime to get the game to a second, including this:
Short of fouling him when he’s on the bench during a timeout, I don’t know what else the Nuggets could have done. For good measure, he put up the first five points of the second overtime, which was capped by this insult to nature and perhaps the lord himself:
Seriously, get the fuck outta here with this.
Sadly for the Blazers, those would be the last points they would score as Lillard’s teammates turned into Rocksteady and Bebop on him. As Lillard tried to spread it around he watched C.J McCollum miss four shots in a row, Robert Covington miss a dunk off a drive from Lillard when he tried to thunder it through to the Earth’s core instead of just get the bucket, and then McCollum step out of bounds off another Lillard pass.
This is why great artists only let their assistants mix the paint and don’t let them touch the canvas, I assume.
The Blazers may not be able to hold off the inevitable in the last two games, and maybe Lillard won’t be able to match this kind of sorcery to do so. Then again, we have said that a lot about him over the years, and everyone knows what happens at the end of games, and yet it keeps happening. The Nuggets may get the series. Lillard gets the immortality.
Woe Danny Boy
On the other side of the draw, the Nets put the Celtics out of their misery with a 123-109 win that provided a view of just what the problem is going to be for anyone who has to play Brooklyn.
The Nets shot 14-for-23 in the 4th, with their triumvirate of Irving, Harden, and Durant scoring 26 combined points in the quarter as the team as a whole put up 37 in the final frame of the series. There was no answer, there was no bottom, and it’s hard to see what any team is going to do about all three when they start cooking. The Bucks can try their luck next.
As for the Celtics, Danny Ainge’s years of walking up to the table with a big stack of chips, but never betting them, feels like it’s caught up to Boston. Ainge can’t wait to tell you how close he was to the big trade or the big signing that would put his team over the top, except it never happens. No one wants to hear about almost. But as we saw with Ainge’s baseball career, you can get him to the plate but you can’t make him swing.
Interesting happening out of Cleveland during the 9th inning of the Cleveland-White Sox game. This is how the Sox broadcast saw things:
If it’s that obvious to broadcasters who are still only watching on TV and aren’t in the park, how can MLB keep missing it or ignoring it?