April 30, 2009
Chicago 128, Boston 127 (3OT), series tied 3-3
I don't know how I'm supposed to go back to watching normal basketball after this.
I've been obsessing over this game for years. I've been poring over every minute of playoff action my entire life. I've made a point to keep up on everything that happened before my time. I've seen fire, and I've seen rain. I have never seen a series like this, and we still have a game to go.
Apologies for burying the lede, but the Chicago Bulls defeated the Boston Celtics in a triple overtime classic that has left me trading text messages with shaky hands, and needing to take a shower after I finish this post. I mean that. The game was all you could ask for from the very beginning, with dozens of phenomenal plays and soul-killing mistakes on either end. This was an absolute dogfight between two teams that appear to want nothing more than to line up for a jump ball to start yet another overtime.
And then another overtime, after that.
Ray Allen had 51 points, and as brilliant as he was, it felt like part of the script. John Salmons, who was plying his trade in front of 9,000-strong in Sacramento this time three months ago, dropped 35 and helped keep Paul Pierce (22 points before fouling out) from dominating. Joakim Noah played a frenetic brand of winning basketball for the first three quarters of the game, needlessly sat on the bench for a long spell, didn't mope, and came back to seal the game with a deciding steal and dunk that sent Pierce to the bench with his sixth foul.
Or, wait, was Derrick Rose's last-second block the thing that sealed it? Or Rose's (intended?) miss of his second free throw that forced a timeout-barren Celtic squad to cover the waterfront with only 3.2 seconds left in triple overtime, before missing a last-second heave? Or was it Brad Miller's three-pointer and lay-up to bring the Bulls back after they seemed to have nothing left with a minute to go in regulation?
Or Ray Allen's five points from a combined 45 feet away on two shots at the end of double overtime? Or was it Vinny Del Negro's insistence on refusing to foul teams that are down three with no timeouts, even though that same play has come back to bite him on the ass all series?
Or was it Glen Davis, calmly nailing jumpers to finish the first overtime? Or was it Davis, fouling Brad Miller needlessly with 38 seconds to go in the third overtime, sending him to sulk on the bench with his sixth foul?
Or was it the greatest game, of the greatest series you've
ever seen in your entire life?
I'll leave that up to you. For now, a cold shower seems the best answer.