Thursday, June 23, 2005

Behind The Scoreboard
By Claude Vinson

Horry hits key shots in Game 5

Just for the sake of argument, suppose that we declare the Sunday evening game between the Spurs and the Pistons the best playoff game in recent memory.

And we are not putting the cart before the horse here. Going into that game on Sunday, the series to decide the new championship of the basketball world was knotted at two apiece.

The first two games went to San Antone, and I am reliving this because of the scores which had been posted prior to the fifth game. The Spurs won the first two in Texas by hefty margins.

When the series landed in Detroit, the Pistons just ran over the Spurs in games three and four, breaking both wide open in the second half. The margins of victory, like the first two games, were quite handsome.

The game on Sunday never saw a lead from either team greater than four points. As a matter of fact, this game was probably destined for overtime way back in the third quarter.

The extra quarter started with both teams at 89. But it wasn’t long before the Pistons had another four point lead. And it appeared as though Rasheed Wallace’s warranty was good for another game. Well, almost.

Just when the Pistons thought they had solved the Ginobili-Duncan equation, they get a physics lesson from Robert Horry. Horry, who is seeking a seventh ring (he has the appendage adornment from Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles), probably defied some laws of the subject with the shots which he made to send the game into overtime and then win it.

This was done by three-pointers from Horry which allowed him the historical mark to eclipse the great Michael Jordan for most treys in the playoffs (career wise, Jordan had 42 and Horry has 48 and probably is not done yet).

Rasheed made the prediction of a second consecutive championship, but Big Ben Wallace has been living it for the last three games. He has been a constant on both defense and offense. But the outcome of the fifth game was not anything that Detroit or coach Larry Brown wanted – returning to Death Valley down 3-2.

With a lockout looming large over the NBA at the end of June, the preliminary rumblings don’t seem to have any impact on this series. One team is trying for a repeat and the other is vying for its third title in seven years.

And that decision could come as soon as Tuesday night (of this week).

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