Last night's basketball was amazing. It was also terrible, because I was pulling for the Rockets, I love that team. It looked like they had won yesterday's game. But the Blazers got the ball with .9 seconds left, just enough time to catch the ball and shoot.
The ball came in. As it was being passed the announcer said "A three wins the game" -- I hadn't had time to realize that, and as he was saying it, Damian Lillard, the hot Portland point guard, aims, shoots and the ball, it arcs, floats, the place goes silent, and swooooosh it goes right in the bucket. But there was enough time between the shot and the basket to think "He'll probably miss," only to realize less than a second later that it was all over. The Rockets go home and Portland moves on. Oh how I wished it had gone the other way!
It was an amazing moment for the sheer drama, and personality of it. The Blazers have great fans, and young Lillard is a real character and basketball star. But a Houston win would have made it amazing for another reason. It would have meant on Sunday there would be three game 7's, as there are three game 7's today. Each game 7 has a winner and a loser, like every game, but with the difference that there is no tomorrow for the team that loses. It's all or nothing, win or go home.
No matter what, it's been the most incredible postseason. Sometimes end of season games are boring, but not this year. There haven't been any big upsets yet. Dallas, Memphis, Atlanta -- these teams, if they win, will knock out one of the leading contenders for this year's title -- San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Indiana. The other two games are closer matches: the Clippers vs the Warriors and the Raptors vs the Nets. It will be stunning if one of the losers is one of the league leaders. Something we'll enjoy seeing, for sure -- with the hope that maybe one of the remaining teams will go on to beat the favorite to win the title, Miami.
As I wrote yesterday, it's a total burnout, in some sense I can't wait till it's over, because the pressure is so great. But it's the reason this is sport is imho the best one out there. It all comes down to the clutch, do you have it or do you choke. The teams that are left at this point have a lot of, as Walt Frazier would say, tenacity. We'll be talking about these games for years to come. And the games tonight and tomorrow are where it all comes to a head.