What was the greatest game of the year ended in the worst possible way ... due to a STUPID call by a pretty good referee! I've never been one to bash on the refs because I feel it always comes back both ways ... but tonight's episode was worse than anything I've seen in years.
Let's see how it unfolded ...
1st Quarter – They Attacked, but we defended.
With the evil empire storming upon the Oracle with their AT Walkers, our alliance held firm with our starting five of Baron (Solo), Monta (Luke), Harrington (Lando), Biens (Just Biens) and Captain Jackson. The crowd of Ewoks poured into the Oracle to root the Warriors on as annoying storm troopers snuck in peppered through the crowd hoping to make a scene.
The dark side was strong and our players were sluggish and careless to begin the battle. The emotional and physical ride of last night’s game had taken its toll, and it was clear from the start, no one was ready to run. Bad passes led to easy turnovers, and easy layups turned into failed attempts. Our team was hustling, but they looked like overweight hamsters on a treadmill, little legs running real fast but going nowhere.
Vader (Kobe), while not scoring, was directing his squad through the mess. With sharp passes and transition defense, he waited for his time to pounce. Sidekick Lamar Odom, the evil empire’s AT general, was still a force. He was grabbing boards on each side of the court and our Warriors were unable to penetrate past him.
Yet the Warriors were resilient and able to pull out the 8 point lead to end the first. Luke Skywalker sailed to the rim countless times stirring the Ewok crowd into a frenzy, making up for his missed shot attempts.
Warriors 28, Fakers 20
Yea, he's the one!
2nd Quarter – Sloppy Joe!
The second quarter picked up right where the first ended, as Skywalker’s shooting percentage was down. His creative plays towards the basket gave us the attack but no one on the team was able to finish. Baron, Harrington, even Biens grabbed rebounds but couldn’t put it in the net.
It was as if the conversation on the court sounded like this:
"What is this sloppy?" Biens was confused and forgot to box out.
"Hey that should be a new bay area slang" Jackson chimmed in. "You so sloppeee"
The three laughed. "Slooopppeee" Harrington exaggerates.
"Slooopppeee" all 5 are singing.
"FOCUS" Nellie screams as Biens picks up another foul.
The Fakers used this to their advantage as they quickly jacked up 3 pointer after 3 pointer. Vader wasn’t scoring much but he guided his team in all other categories, mainly assists. He drove to the basket and dished the ball out to Fisher countless times for the threes.
The Darkside seemed to be settling further onto the court when with 1 minute remaining in the half Baron and Monta combined for 6 points with incredible plays. Baron first drove through the Fakers, wrapping the ball around himself for an acrobatic layup and Monta floats a 3 point buzzer beater to end the half.
Warriors up by 11!
At the half Han and R2 pose w/ the fans.
3rd Quarter – The Dark Side is Strong
Hoping we would learn from last night’s game about coming out of halftime with some energy didn’t really sink in. Just like the night before, the Warriors seemed lackadaisical as they settled for ill advised jump shots and played porous defense. As our lead diminished, we then resorted to jacking up 3’s that hit rim and gave Odom more rebounds.
21 to be precise. It seemed as though he covered ever inch of the court and forced Biens into a quick 4 fouls relegating him to the bench.
The Warriors only had 2 bright spots so far for the game. The first was the defense Jackson and BD played on Vader. They controlled him from scoring but not assisting. Containing him was our only way to stay ahead in this game. Secondly, it was all Buike. Showing more heart than all the players on the court combined, he played very well. Intelligent steals and offensive positioning made it easier for BD, Monta and Jackson to get open. He was also able to grab 7 rebounds and make the open shots.
As the third came to a close, Vader still didn’t have too many points but the Fakers took the lead by one.
Back to his native pastime. Fouling out!
4th Quarter – Vader’s Revenge
The mood was darker and we all knew the time had come for Vader to take over. With only 10 points in the game so far, Vader became unconscious shooting the ball as if he was playing NBA JAM on Nintendo. Fade away 3’s with a hand in his face, turnaround jumpers, and crazy layups through traffic gave the Fakers an 8 point lead with 5 minutes remaining.
Suddenly Han Solo got the bright idea that if you can’t stop him, hit him in the face with your elbow. And it worked. As Vader’s head rung for minutes, it gave the Warriors enough time to crawl back into it. 2 minutes remaining, reminiscent of last night, the Warriors were down by 9 points when they made 2 incredible steals. Working all the way back, Baron ties the game with 3 seconds left at the free throw line.
YES! Fisher missed the buzzer shot to force overtime. Our hearts were pounding and our Ewok crowd was roaring. The force was in the air and we believed, we just believed we had a chance to close this out and win the series for the first time in a decade.
Overtime – The call that ruined everything
5 minutes was all that was in the way to victory. Special K (Buike’s nickname and I’m sticking to it) was HUGE! Lunging towards the basket on the first play creating a foul gave the Warriors the first lead. Monta contributed as he picked up his play nailing an open shot and creating another steal.
As our hearts pounded in excitement and fear, Vader once again assisted to Fisher for a 3 pointer. Clock winding down this is how it ended:
58 Seconds Left: Warriors with a 1 point lead.
43 Seconds Left: Fakers distribute the ball as they nail a 3 pointer to take the lead by 2.
30 Seconds Left: Monta drives to the basket and as the ball rims out Special K puts it in to tie the game. WHAT A PLAY!
9 Seconds Left: Fakers run the clock down as Odom grabs a pass in the paint for an easy layup. Fakers by 2.
4 Seconds Left: Inbound pass set in Faker territory. This is it. The last play of the game. Nellie’s timeout prepped the team to tie it or shoot a 3 for the win. As the whistle blew and the players wrestled for position … the unthinkable happened. Fisher fell to the ground grabbing Monta with him, and the ref Delaney, blew the whistle calling an offensive foul.
Game over. Episode over. YaoButtaMing’s emotional outburst … not over!
Vader and Baron ended the night with 30 points and 7 assists each. Jackson scored 29 but it wasn’t enough. Incredible game … but horrendous ending.
Warrior Wonder: Ok everyone … I have to give it to Special K, because he holds a special place in my heart! Let’s hear it in the comments. This guy kept us in both games!
Side Note: No winners in tonight’s contest. Try again next time.
SPECIAL THANKS TO TONY.psd for the great graphics!