Without making too big a deal out of this — After all it’s not as monumental as Crawford and Bozich saying sayonara at the C-J — I can’t see this wagering dispute of mine being resolved anywhere but the International Court of Justice.
Or, at the very least, the International House of Pancakes, by Joey the Vig in his own private dining room in the back.
My pal David and I made a wager on the NBA playoffs. So uncertain were the parameters of the bet that he called me the day after we made it to confirm exactly who had whom at what odds in what configuration? This all came about the day after San Antonio provided an almost perfect display of basketball in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.
At which point, they were up 2 zed, and, in the Eastern Conference, the Heat were also up 2 games to nil.
Being the impetuous sort, David, who never watches any NBA ball until Memorial Day, but being a man of quick and firm 0pinion, considered the Spurs a dead lock to win whatever they call the equivalent to the Lombardi Trophy.
His exact words: “San Antonio will beat the Heat in four. It’s a lock.”
At which point — And forgive me Joey the Vig for not including you in the action — I wagered ten bucks against David’s five that the Spurs would not sweep the Heat. I considered this the surest thing since another pal — a bright fellow who shall remain anonymous given the idiocy of his wager — was positive the hero of “Around The World in 80 Days” was Phineas Fogg, when I knew his Christian name to be Phileas. The Benjamin I won then went quickly.
The day after his foolishness, David called to inquire if his Spurs needed to sweep OKC in addition to the Heat for him to win the bet. Which they did not have to do and didn’t . . . obviously.
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Which brings us to the oldest and truest dictum of sports: That’s why they play the game.
Neither Miami nor San Antonio is assured of making the Finals. In fact, in as stunning a change of mo as I’ve seen in awhile — at least since U of L got it together this post season — Oklahoma City grew up faster than radishes, the fastest maturing of vegetables, and are now on the precipice of victory in the wild wild West. Pop’s Spurs, who looked invincible less than a week ago on a 20 game win streak, are now appearing frayed, old and in the way.
Instead of hanging their heads after that Game 2 smackdown, the Thunder watched the film and learned. They no longer rely solely on their Big 3 of Durant, Harden and Westbrook. They pass the ball, play smart, play D. Kind of like the tired-legged Spurs . . . used to play. Except that OKC is more talented and faster, and when combined with newly discovered savvy, spells V I C T O R Y, that’s the Thunder battle cry.
Pretty amazing actually. And a changing of the guard more fun to watch than Buckingham.
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Meanwhile on the other side of the Mighty Mississippi, consider this stat that strikes me as telling and stunning.
According to Tony or Mike on PTI, the Heat during the 2 year LeBron Era have had — in the playoffs alone, I believe — 10 possessions with a chance to win a game with less than 24 seconds on the clock. Miami’s record in those games: 0-10.
Not exactly Jordanesque numbers. The Heat might have been advised to lure out of retirement the clutchest of clutch shooters, Robert Horry. Even at age 41, I’m sure the guy would knock down a winner better than zero times out of ten.
Yes, something has happened since Miami went Jamesian, but we’re not sure what it is?
The Heat go tepid when they’re behind, the game’s on the line and winnable.
If San Antonio has grey hair, Boston is positively Methuselahian. Yet, thanks to the stellar play of the greatest guard who never played at U of L but wanted to, homie Rajon Rondo, the Celts have tied the series. And even the possible return of Chris Bosh doesn’t make favored Miami a sure thing.
Dictum of the Day, Part Deux: Some teams know how to win. Some don’t.
The Miami LeBrons have yet to prove they don’t fall in the later category.
These playoffs have gotten mighty interesting.
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Which begs the most important question.
If San Antonio doesn’t make it to the Finals, do I win my bet by default?
I pray that true justice is served.
– Seedy K