Thursday, June 12, 2014
Behind The Scoreboard
Chrome and NBA
I am sorry (and a bit chagrined) to report that my picking winners in important horse races hasn’t improved much over the years since I first declared myself as a “race track tout” on my first trip to California.
I wasn’t in California for this race (Belmont Stakes), but my horse was from there and even carried the name. Cal Chrome was making an assault on the Triple Crown, that most elusive grail of thoroughbred equine trials.
Since yours truly was already tracking a triple crown of sorts, it just stood to reason California Chrome was the nag to end the longest drought (37 years) in the 146-year span. You have probably heard the results by now so I won’t whip a dead horse (well, a slow one anyway). Luckily there was no easy access to parimutual windows.
That other quest was being played out indoors and a few miles from the Big Apple and unlike their four-legged seeker, these contestants had been in the hunt before. Last season, the Miami Heat had taken the double crown in seven games. Being somewhat (?) doddering (and bordering on senility), I had to refresh my memory on the series of yesteryear, so I took a look at game seven.
The Spurs had been a couple of years removed from being champions in defense of their title. And now it was the Heat’s turn in the same role. What has become a standard for the series between these two teams, the score rolls back and forth. Game seven differed not; the Heat was down two points with a few seconds left in the third when Mario Chalmers hit a long looping trey to put the Heat up.
It has become a trademark of the Miami Heat to get an opponent on its knees and keep them there. Miami kept the lead for most of the fourth quarter and play became frantic in the last minute with the Heat still ahead by two. Behind LeBron James’ 35 points, the Heat won 95-88.
The current series is paralleling the last one. Miami was on the road for the first two games and to aggravate the fact that you are playing a team of the Spurs’ caliber, the A/C unit malfunctioned. In the last two quarters of game one, the Miami bench was seen with ice packs on the backs of their necks. The King cramped up and took himself out of the game with six minutes left and a two-point deficit. L.B. is a great physical specimen; he would be the last person whom I would pick to succumb to heat exhaustion. With #6 on the oak, San Antone went on to win by 15 points (110-95).
The King attempted to answer all of his critics during post-game press conferences and added a bit of mirth when he related that his eldest son had chided him for his performance in game five with the Pacers. The son had said, “Seven points and five fouls in 24 minutes? Really? I could have done that in my sleep!”
Game two on Sunday revealed that there were apparently no lasting ill effects from the cramping. The King had 35 points and went after the Spurs from whistle to whistle. In a very rare happenstance, James and Tim Duncan were “teed up” in the same game.
Plays from both squads were spectacular and the Heat tied the series 1-1. The Spurs have to travel to Miami for the next two games, beginning on Tuesday (of this week). Methinks there is a strong possibility that San Antonio could begin to hear some tolling bells.
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