[[WARNING: In the totality of this piece, I only mention the Warriors ONCE. Okay, here we go.]]
Oh Western Conference, you cruel mistress.
It is unfair that such a contest of behemoths should transpire in the first round.
Last night, while
most of the world (/America) the people on the East Coast were sleeping, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in the most heartbreaking, unfair, emotional, Spursian way possible.
Trailing the Spurs 108-107, with five seconds left, the Clippers had one final chance to wrest victory from the claws of defeat. The game so far had been an unbelievable contest of wills. Back and forth. Back and forth. One made basket after another.
The ball, I believe, was initially supposed to go to Chris Paul. However, Kawhi Leonard was on him, and hip checked him hard coming around a screen, causing Chris to stumble.
So instead, the ball came in to Blake Griffin. He took a dribble towards the basket and put up a floater.
Time ceased temporarily.
Motion upended and all thoughts concentrated upon the simple flight of a leather orb.
It hit the rim, bounced upwards, stalled on the back of the hoop, seeming like it might fall at any moment.
And then DeAndre Jordan jumped and whisked the edge of said orb with his monstrous finger.
Just once. Nothing fancy. Just a tiny little whisk of a fingernail that in any other situation of life might have been a meaningless caress.
Offensive interference. The ball was still in the cylinder.
And so a basket that by all means should have won the game (a MADE BASKET, let me remind you), was called off.
Why exactly does anyone ever doubt the Spurs anymore?— Nate P (@NateP_SBN) April 29, 2015
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Afterwards, Tim Duncan could only shake his head in disbelief and look around like a lost, excited little kid.
Bearded Gregg Popovich continued to remind us that he is the greatest interviewee of all time.
"I don't know how to describe a win. I don't know what you want me to say." GOD LEVEL POP— Bethlehem Shoals (@freedarko) April 29, 2015
In the fourth quarter, Chris Paul, who had been badmouthing the refs all game, threw the basketball back to a ref with particular vigor. The ref T'd him up.
The Spurs made the technical free throw.
The Spurs won by one point.
Life is circular and strange.
All in all, this series has more than lived up to its own hype. The Spurs are who we thought they were. Champions. Calm. Collected. Professional. Ruthless.
The Clippers are who we thought they were as well. Petulant. Over-anxious. Not ready for primetime.
At one point in second half, Blake got so mad at a Bill Kennedy call that he stared him down, then spit a huge loogie on the court...— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) April 29, 2015
...Kennedy thought about a T, changed his mind, eyeballed BG, then called over a ballboy to clean the spit up. Champion teams don't do this.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) April 29, 2015
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As the Warriors wait patiently to see who they'll play next week, the rest of the basketball world watches enthralled as these two monstrous teams take kill-shots at one another.
How many more twists are there in this series?
For now the Spurs have a chance to close it out on their home court.
Game six is tomorrow. 6:30 PDT. Hot damn.