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SB Nation loses heartbreaker in inaugural 2010 NBA Summer League 5-on-5 Throwdown vs TrueHoop Network

SB Nation vs TrueHoop 5-on-5 Showdown 2010 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas
SB Nation vs TrueHoop 5-on-5 Showdown 2010 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas

Yesterday morning, in the wee hours (by Vegas standards) of 8:45am, well before duty called at the 2010 NBA Summer League first tipoff of 1:00pm, a group of eager ballers met outside Chuck Minker Sports Complex. The heat was debilitating as we waited for the staff to unlock the front entrance.

Once inside, the rumble was afoot. I asked BrightSideOfTheSun's Seth Pollack for a brief rundown of who was from SB Nation and who was from TrueHoop Network. If Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress had come through on his email saying he would pass by, I might've considered having a quickie draft, but in his absence of what I'm sure was hob-knobbing amongst NBA socialites at some swank hotel (he probably made the right choice), decided against such a method of roster determination.

I added some guys from TheNoLookPass and had to split them up to keep the SB Nation vs TrueHoop theme going. And finally, there was my fellow poor man's commish, Pepsi Porciuncula, who runs the 180-team Asian League in Vegas.

Here were the rosters...

TRUEHOOP NETWORK (their blog, team represented, and Twitter handle)

g Peter Kim, The No Look Pass (LA Clippers) @YungBolo
g John Krolik, Cavs The Blog (Cleveland Cavaliers) @johnkrolik
f Spencer Hall, Salt City Hoops (Utah Jazz) @saltcityhoops
f Andrew Tonry, Portland Roundball Society (Portland Trailblazers)
c Rob Mahoney, The Two Man Game (Dallas Mavericks) @robmahoney

g Jimmy Castro, The No Look Pass (LA Lakers) @WinInTheEnd
g/f Michael Schwartz, Valley Of The Suns (Phoenix Suns) @MBSchwartz

SB NATION (their blog, team represented, and Twitter handle)

g Pepsi Porciuncula, Las Vegas Asian League
g Brian Ball, At The Hive (New Orleans Hornets) @atthehive
f Seth Pollack, Bright Side Of The Sun (Phoenix Suns) @sethpo
f Rohan Cruyff, At The Hive (New Orleans Hornets)
f Nick Perkins, The No Look Pass (LA Lakers)

g Rey Moralde, The No Look Pass (LA Lakers) @thenolookpass
g Seth Rosenthal, Posting And Toasting (NY Knicks) @ptknicksblog

I brought along some old tournament team jerseys made in the Philippines that the Dream League All-Star traveling squad has donned before and gave the red ones to SB Nation and the gold ones to the TrueHoop Network.

The game got off to a slow start, but Mahoney was giving us a glimpse of his forthcoming dominance in the paint, going 4-for-6 in the quarter, one of them a missed trey, while collecting 5 defensive rebounds and 1 blocked shot. He also committed 3 turnovers, but such errors would not linger. TrueHoop took a 10-6 lead into the quarter break.

Porciuncula (let's just call him Pepsi from here on out, much easier to type as well) was the story of the 2nd quarter. He scissored his way through the TrueHoop defense and made a couple from beyond the arc to boot.

He was a veritable Poor Man's Allen Iverson. It's no wonder the arena of the Denver Nuggets is named after him!

When Pepsi had a rare miss, At The Hive's Brian Ball was there to get the rebound. Ball was really Brianing that quarter, tallying 5 of his eventual 13 rebounds.

With 12 points, Pepsi single-handedly brought SB Nation back, owning an 18-16 lead heading into halftime.

I took the opportunity to tweet, then thought to myself, "Wow, that may be considered a fairly embarrassing halftime score. Hope nobody noticed."

In the 3rd quarter, Pepsi went flat (I'm 2-for-2 on wordplay now), missing his two trey attempts and committing two turnovers, as the TrueHoop defense began to key on him.

And Mahoney was unstoppable (baby!). He went for 5-for-11 with 5 rebounds from directly underneath the basket and put on a miss-get-my-rebound-putback clinic, helping TrueHoop take a commanding 33-28 lead into the 4th quarter.

But then, the secret weapon was unveiled: Rohan Ramadas in his black Chuck Taylors!

[cue slow motion pan from black Chuck Taylors at feet to determined face]

"Was it the shoes? It's gotta be the shoes!"

Seemingly out of nowhere, Ramadas went on a rampage from downtown, drilling four straight three-pointers while cleaning up the glass on the defensive end.

With 1:45 remaining, Ball got an offensive putback to cut the TrueHoop lead over SB Nation to just 43-42.

Schwartz answered with a three of his own, his only make in twelve previous tries, including two missed free throws, but then Ramadas hit his 4th of four treys in a row. Schwartz got fouled a couple times and calmly drilled 3-of-4, and suddenly with 20.6 seconds remaining, Mahoney was back on the line up one, 48-47.

He made the first but missed the second. After a few more missed shots and a turnover by Jimmy Castro, Mahoney was back on the line for two, up 49-47 with 7.1 seconds. His Kevin McHale delivery bricked the first, but swished the second.

Pollack called timeout and SB Nation had a chance to tie with a three-pointer and only 7.1 remaining. The first inbound went to Pepsi, who dribbled it off a defender's foot. You expected that the play had to go to the hot-shooting Ramadas, who had cooled down a bit after missing his last two from beyond the arc.

But Ramadas was covered, so the ball went into Ball, whose three-ball missed at the buzzer. TrueHoop 50, SB Nation 47.

Mahoney was the easy choice for MVP, with 32 points and 17 rebounds.

Check out the boxscore.

We all had a great time and plan to be at 2011 NBA All-Star in Los Angeles for the next 5-on-5 Showdown. We're also looking for a fourth team because TheNoLookPass plans to have their own team. It looks possible to have a Final Four setup, assuming I can find a gym with two courts in LA, and a 3-Point Shootout before the championship.

Check the vote below the photo and lowlights...

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