League of Extraordinary Finishes

By: 01.09.10  •  29 Comments

Chris Bosh, Dime #33

You needed a picture-in-picture screen and some quick thumbs to keep up with all the down-to-the-wire finishes on Friday’s NBA schedule. We had to attack it newspaper style … PHILADELPHIA–It was a fourth-quarter battle between Chris Bosh and Lou Williams (no, really) that came down to one bad call and one superbad play. Williams’ jumper with one minute left capped a personal 7-0 run and brought the Sixers within one, then Sam Dalembert gave them the lead with a follow dunk in transition. Raps ball, Bosh (29 pts, 9 rebs, 6 asts) squared up on the Dalembeast, shook him going right and got fouled on the floor. Only the refs allowed Bosh to take the contact, brush his teeth, read The Economist, take two steps, clip his toenails and then get his shot off for the longest continuation and-one you’ve seen since Jordan‘s prime. We still can’t tell you what Philly was trying to do on the last play: Allen Iverson was either supposed to give it to Lou (23 pts) in the corner, or he had to pass because he was losing his balance; either way, Williams ran to the top of the key, almost bowling over A.I. and ignoring Andre Iguodala (17 pts, 11 rebs, 9 asts) to launch a 28-footer under duress that never had a chance … DENVER–With Chauncey Billups (23 pts) back but still no Carmelo (knee), the Nuggets needed Mr. Big Shot’s poise to out-execute the Cavs down the stretch. Arron Afflalo‘s corner trey tied it up with under two minutes left, and after Anderson Varejao was called for a charge (karma for years of flopping?), Denver went ahead on a short banker by Kenyon Martin. Afflalo had been doing a decent job guarding LeBron (35 pts, 8 turnovers) up to that point, but then K-Mart took over and did even better — forcing LBJ to miss a shot in the lane and then step out of bounds on a drive. In between that was a deep three by J.R. Smith that should’ve been the dagger, but LeBron hit a couple late treys to give Denver a scare before they closed it out at the line … Did you see when Mark Jackson tried to give Jeff Van Gundy a hard time for sympathizing with every coach who’s gotten fired recently, and JVG owned him in the ensuing argument? Jax didn’t talk for like three minutes after that … NEW ORLEANS–At least the Nets can chalk up one loss to the refs. Jersey was down one with 13 seconds left and the Hornets were inbounding. Chris Paul tripped just as James Posey was making the pass (probably a foul if it were Kobe or LeBron), and Courtney Lee stole it, missed a layup, but got fouled and iced both freebies. So on the most important defensive possession of the game, here’s New Jersey’s lineup: Devin Harris, Lee, Trenton Hassell, Keyon Dooling and Jarvis Hayes. Granted, the Hornets were going small, but you really want Hayes guarding David West? CP and West (32 pts, 10 rebs) ran the pick-and-roll, Hayes switched onto CP (11 pts, 18 asts, 3 stls), and got the blow-by for a layup plus-one. Then as Harris was looking for a last-chance shot, Yi Jianlian got called for a weak illegal screen and NJ never got its chance. Oddly enough, the Nets didn’t even object to the call that much; perhaps their will is just dead at this point …

Dirk Nowitzki (photo. Monte Isom)

SAN ANTONIO–After Tim Duncan (31 pts, 12 rebs) hit Manu Ginobili for a game-tying backdoor layup on a beautifully-executed play that would’ve made Pete Carril proud, Dirk Nowitzki (26 pts) turned into Denzel from The Book of Eli. A three, a fadeaway and another three later, it was like the Spurs were never in the game in the first place. In garbage time, Erick Dampier even tossed in a triple as pigs were seen flying past the AT&T Center … Gregg Popovich got ejected in the second quarter. As Pop charged the ref like an angry bull, one of his assistants (the one who looks like Uncle Phil) got him in a bear-hug, while another put his clipboard over Pop’s mouth to block whatever he was saying. It was like they’d rehearsed this before. Crazy that even the Spurs’ coaches are efficient … PORTLAND–It wasn’t until after the Lakers were down 20 in the fourth that Kobe flipped the switch to “I’m not passing anymore” mode. When Kobe (32 pts, 14-37 FG) wasn’t sticking pull-ups or forcing his way into the lane, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom were putting back his misses. The Lakers got within single-digits and might have been able to pull off the comeback, but Brandon Roy (32 pts, 9-11 FG, 13-14 FT) and Jerryd Bayless wouldn’t miss any free throws to help them out. On the play that put it officially out of reach, Roy had Kobe posted up, and as Kobe was trying to deny the entry pass, Roy broke to the rim and got an easy layup. Kobe’s stunned look after that is probably the computer wallpaper for quite a few L.A. haters already … MEMPHIS–Ronnie Brewer might have to call Bryon Russell for advice after this one. Brewer tied the Jazz/Grizzlies game on a tip dunk with 23 seconds left, but on the other end, O.J. Mayo took Brewer to the elbow and drained a pull-up jumper in his face with five seconds left for the lead. C.J. Miles had a look at a game-tying layup, but Marc Gasol did what Hasheem Thabeet was hired to do and sent his shot to the beer man. (By the way, Thabeet played four minutes and picked up four fouls.) … Other stat lines from Friday: D-Wade stamped 33 points, nine boards and eight dimes on the Suns in a win; Jamal Crawford dropped 18 points and some cold-blooded shots in the fourth (watch those finger-guns, though, JC) as Atlanta knocked off Boston; Antawn Jamison posted 28 points and 11 boards, and delivered a public apology to the D.C. fans before the Wizards upset the Magic; Al Jefferson had 25 and 12 in Minnesota’s win over Indiana; Andrew Bogut put up 27 points and 13 boards to lead the Bucks past the Bulls; and Monta Ellis scored 39 as G-State edged Sacramento … There was a harmless little altercation during Bucks/Bulls that NBA TV’s Steve Smith described as, “A lot of guys touching each other, getting a little physical.” Apparently Smitty’s been watching some of that ancient Greece stuff on History Channel … We’re out like Bryon Russell …

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