There are things that simply happen, without having to seek further explanation. And what happened tonight in Arizona is to at the very least rub your eyes and see it loop over and over again. Of course, with an advantage of doing it delayed: go through the eternal stops caused by the Instant replay, that television that the referees use to discern which way the balance leans. The game, from start to finish, lasted more than three hours; the last five minutes, more than 30. And the last one became eternal for everyone who was watching the match, free from drowsiness due to nerves but disgusted by not knowing the end. This is not, eye, a criticism of technology in sports… but reviewing each of the last plays of the game can cause a drowsiness only comparable to the emotion that is in each playoff game, a fierce duel, a fight against oneself and against the rival. Anyway, the greatest of sport in 48 minutes. Or in one and a half, which in total have lasted 33, with the same interviews (5) as field shots in that period.
Let’s start at the end. With 93-90 on the scoreboard for the Suns and just three minutes left in the game, Jae Crowder caught a rebound, but saw how, quickly, Paul George’s hands reached the ball. The referees granted a time-out to the local player considering that he had requested it before the action of his rival. A fact without more than slightly away from the end of the meeting, but that exemplifies one thing: home arbitration. Almost all reviews of the Instant replay they gave the reason to the Clippers, and almost all the previous signals were for the Suns, including a very obvious one at the end that we will now tell. Advancing, yes, that neither Phoenix won by the referees, nor the Clippers lost because of him.
Before the heart attack, bursts of talent in a final whose duration was inversely proportional to the number of rings (none) that the two teams in the Western finals have. On the sidelines of the Bucks, let us remember that anyone who wins will do so for the first time, a minor point for an NBA that always fights for equality between the teams, but that has found many surprises in the form of injuries due to the work and grace of the condensed calendar (for which they have responsibility). ) and the coronavirus (not so much there). Returning to Arizona, the Clippers held out as they had throughout the game, with an enviable resilience exercise, until they went from 100-97 to 100-101, thanks to four consecutive points from an erratic Paul George first, brilliant later … and with two unforgivable mistakes from the staff at the end.
The final sequence was truly insane: Monty Williams’ timeout, Devin Booker’s suspension basket, which ended with 20 points and 5 assists, but 5 of 16 in field goals, 5 fouls committed and 7 losses. Time out by Tyronn Lue and jump shot by Paul George, who did it with 26 + 6 + 6, but 1 of 8 in triples. An ode to the middle distance by two players, one raised in basketball before (George) and one who has done it in today’s basketball, but he likes what was there before. After that, the Instant replay He confirmed Booker’s seventh loss to a Beverley who did not stop talking throughout the game and who has a perfect counterpart on the other side, a Jae Crowder who makes him the competition when it comes to exhausting your rivals. After that, Paul George went to the line to confirm the victory and secure at least extra time, but missed both free throws. The pressure was on the forward, who scored 34 points in the first game, pretended to be the hero in the second, but was shipwrecked in the end. And there, and not in the arbitration, was the key.
Of course, more things happened. Mikal Bridges missed from the corner, but possession went to the Suns, Instan Replay (of course) through. And with 0.9 seconds to go, Crowder put it on top of Ayton and he pounded while the horn sounded.. Zubac didn’t make it, but for some reason or other: two first grabs by Ayton and a shameless moving block from Booker allowed him to reach the basket. Two offensive fouls that will never be whistled in the playoffs, especially against the home team. And that does not overshadow, yes, Ayton’s amazing game, another one: 24 points (12 in the first quarter), 14 rebounds and 12 of 15 in field goals. The best of the game with Cameron Payne, who went to 29 points and 9 assists. And all with increasingly growing rumors that Chris Paul will return in the third round, already with all the coronavirus protocols overcome.
The Clippers still had 0.7 seconds to spare, something the umpires conceded after reviewing (again) the Instant replay. No timeouts for a Tyronn Lue who brought out the best in people like Reggie Jackson (19 points and 5 rebounds), the mission was practically impossible, above taking from his own field. And with all that, the Angelenos are, for a change, 2-0 against. But without a Kawhi Leonard who does not seem to be coming back and with a very painful defeat forged by a burning crowd, an extraordinary pressure environment, a powerful rival and a home refereeing. And above all, for two free throws missed by a Paul George who, if he wants to touch the glory, cannot miss them.. Mind you, these are the playoffs. It’s time to forget and face the third round. The Suns are approaching the Finals. The Clippers walk away. But the end, nobody knows. That’s the good thing.