CLASSIC IN SOUTH FLORIDA
Last night’s game 6 had a little something for everyone and is rightly being held up as one of the best Finals games ever. Ray Allen’s late game 3-ball did more than just bail Miami out…it bailed the King out.
After three lackluster quarters Lebron James became a different man in the final quarter. He did what he hasn’t done often enough in this series and that’s to take over and will his team back into the game. For about 10 minutes he was unstoppable.
But then, in the final two minutes, things fell apart for him. He missed shots, turned the ball over, and had the look of frustration mixed with genuine panic on his face. He had brought his team from 10 down to back in the game but then made a couple of huge mistakes to help fuel an 8 – 0 Spurs run that should have iced the game.
Lebron recovered to hit a big 3 before Allen’s shot tied the game and forced overtime. (An aside here…Tony Parker’s crazy drive to the baseline to throw up a garbage off balance might not have counted anyway shot is lost in the shuffle here. Why didn’t he just pull up after he got inside the 3 point line?)
Back to the main point…if Allen’s 3 doesn’t go in the narrative today is all about the mistakes James made down the stretch. He would have had the blame hoisted onto his shoulders by fans and media alike. It would have been a little unfair given the fact that he did so much to get the Heat back into the game. But that’s life.
As long as we’re talking about the greats of the game let’s toss a bon mot Tim Duncan’s way. His performance in the last 2 games has been remarkable. I’m not sure there’s been a quieter yet brighter superstar in the league…ever.
Final thought: Chris Bosh fouled Danny Green. No doubt about it. I think it should have been called.
The fact that it wasn’t adds the maddening “swallow the whistle” mentality of the NBA to the classic mix of this game and maybe that’s appropriate. We in Seattle are aware the NBA likes to make up rules as things go along. This was just another example.
Perhaps this classic could have been even more dramatic. Imagine Green trying to knock down 3 FTs in that scenario.
ANOTHER SOLID NIGHT FOR THE USMNT
They appeared a wee bit sluggish for much of the night but a win is a win and the US Men’s National Soccer Team last night put itself right on the edge of next year’s World Cup with a 1 nil victory over Honduras in Salt Lake City. Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans both started again for the USA. Johnson is the flashier of the two but Evans is rapidly becoming the bigger story. Since his goal that gave the US the win in extra time in Jamaica earlier this month his star has been rising.
He should have had another goal last night, missing on a header that should have been directed at the far post. Evans isn’t primarily being relied on to score goals for the team but obviously they are welcome.
His play, in a different position than the one he usually plays for the Sounders, has been good enough that he may well have earned a spot on the team for the duration. In a different sport we might say that Evans is a ball player. Put him anywhere and he’ll help the team.
BIG PLAY IN THE BOTTOM OF THE TENTH
The M’s are off the radar for many folks (understandably so) but there was a play in the bottom of the 10th last night that is worth mentioning. The M’s were ahead of the Angels 3 to 2. They had already blown a 2 to 1 lead in the 8th when Tom Wilhelmsen gave up a HR to Albert Pujols. Wilhelmsen, by the way, had better get it together or the Bartender is going to be giving last call in places like Colorado Springs.
Back to the main point. Bottom of the 10th…one run lead…Yoervis Medina on the hill for the M’s…and here’s Pujols again. Leading off and looking to tie things up. He popped a pitch up behind the plate. It’s a nightmare scenario here…if you don’t make the play you’re giving one of the great sluggers in the game another chance. Veteran catchers make the play routinely. But the M’s catcher was playing in his fifth MLB game.
As Mike Zunino worked his way towards the back stop he staggered a bit. Maybe the ball was twisting a funny direction or maybe he just lost his balance. Either way…he didn’t lose his concentration and made a nice catch. The M’s went on to win.
Before the hoots of derision start I’ll go ahead and say what many of you may be thinking. “This is what we’re down to, waxing poetic about a catcher catching a foul pop up?.” I get it…as an M’s fan now you’re left with nightly grasping for straws. But this was a nice play made by a guy who’s been motor boated to the bigs a little quicker than planned. We’ve been waiting for the future for a decade now and we’ve been fooled before. But I couldn’t help but take notice of the play and thought it was worth high lighting for those who may have missed it.
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