Firstly let me say that tonight I’m going to see Bulls-Celtics at the TD Banknorth Garden. In Boston. To say I’m excited about being at Game 7 of one of the greatest series in playoff history is an understatement. I feel blessed. I feel very lucky. Because the turn of events that lead me here are crazy.
I was in New York for 8 days, checking the sites and hanging out with a few old pals, downing 32oz Buds in Brooklyn and pints of Guinness at the many fine Irish establishments in Manhattan. I’d been to New York before in a whirlwind five days back in 2004, but anyone who lives in/has visited New York knows that five days amounts to dipping your toes in the water. This time I wanted to jump in and swim nude. I feel I did that, but I still had to get out of the pool earlier than I wanted to. Nude swimming analogies aside, this is a place I definitely need to come back to, a place you can never fully consume, a place I could write endlessly about except this is not a travel blog – I direct you to my good Aussie pal Dool who’s written a post or two about the Big Apple in his excellent blog. I’d almost made up my mind to leave NY and fly south to Miami, spending a few days soaking up the sun and scenery and maybe catching a Heat game. But talking to a few different folk changed my opinion, and besides, my New York state of mind had left me craving something a little more gritty, a little more real, a little less David Hasselhoff. Boston was the next logical step for me, a city a few hours bus ride away, a city home to the greatest franchise in NBA history.
The problem was, being in Boston only three days (I had to then fly back west) meant I might not even get to see a Celtics game. I needed the Bulls to win Game 6 in Chicago to force a Game 7 or else I’d be leaving Bean Town feeling somewhat short-changed. And we all know what happened in Game 6. Not only was I riding the emotions of this game like anyone else who was watching, I was riding them knowing a Bulls win would mean I’d be seeing these two teams battle it out Saturday night at the Garden. The fact I thought my chances were blown at least five times during that game really messed with my mind – Ray hits another three! Damn.. what am I gonna do Saturday night? The fact the Bulls had to triumph in one of the greatest playoff games ever JUST so I could see them play two days later is pretty amazing. Thanks Joakim Noah. I owe you one. On to the Day 14 votes…
3 votes – Dwyane Wade. The Heat-Hawks series continues to represent everything the Bulls-Celtics series isn’t – big one-sided victories, unexciting finishes, and very little drama. In a remarkable stat that tells this tale perfectly, there hasn’t been one lead change after the first quarter during this entire series. That is unbelievable. But considering how drab it’s been, we are going to get a Game 7 out of it, and that could prove to be big. Especially if Wade pulls out another performance like he did tonight. This game typified everything about Wade’s brilliant season – unstoppable moves, jaw-dropping dunks, better outside shooting and impossible blocks. The dunk on Bibby was smooth. The dunk on Zaza came out of nowhere. All this on a supposed bad back? Kinda hard to believe, but I guess that is Dwyane Wade in a nutshell. I still maintain Atlanta is the better team and they should win Game 7 if everything comes together, but a small part of me wants Wade to stay alive just so we can watch him have games like this against Lebron. Is that wrong of me?
2 votes – Michael Beasley. I was really impressed with Beasley in this game, though it’s always easier to look good in a blowout. He really does have a lot of offensive moves in his arsenal and he does it all in a very unassuming manner (similar to Rose, he shows great composure for a rookie). To pull out his best performance of the series in a do-or-die Game 6 says a lot about the kid, who let’s face it, is being completely overshadowed right now because of Rose’s heroics. Beasley could have the last laugh if the Heat survive and Chicago don’t.
1 vote – Joel Anthony. Mark Jackon and Jeff Van Gundy’s love-fest for Joel Anthony last night became a little too much to take at times, but it was certainly warranted. Anthony put in a Charles Oakley-esque display of brute force and energy, setting a couple of picks that sent Hawks players literally crashing to the ground, making a few emphatic blocks, and fighting for offensive rebounds (he had 5). I’ll be honest, I’d barely taken notice of the guy before this game, but he fits the mould of player I have always been a massive fan of – Oakley, Anthony Mason, Dennis Rodman, Ben Wallace, Malik Rose (before he became a Knick), Jason Maxiell. Will be watching him closely from here on.