Behind The Scenes At The Best Basketball Game Of The Summer

Does a one-point win in a game marked with fouls, dunks, travels, blocks and everything in-between equal basketball supremacy for the winning team? It most certainly does.

After the Goodman League‘s 135-134 win over the Drew League on Saturday night in Washington, D.C., the answer of the best summer league in the country was finally decided.

After all the back-and-forth trash talking, it’s safe to say that the W for D.C. makes the Goodman League the best.

“Of course,” said Ty Lawson. “The debate’s over.”

But it still took awhile to end the debate, which is really only over for the time being, or until the two teams meet again in the next year, which is expected.

But none of that mattered Saturday night. As soon as Kevin Durant got a piece of his Thunder teammate and newfound-opponent James Harden‘s desperation jumper at the buzzer, it was over. Durant immediately flashed the “Goodman” on his jersey. This, to him, was a game of solidarity for the Goodman League, for all of the players and the fans. This wasn’t, to him, The KD Show (even though it sure seemed like it with his game-dominating 44 points and MVP award). This was a game between D.C. and L.A., between guys that just wanted to play basketball.

And the underlying feelings behind the game regarding the lockout, well, those were put aside for the evening. This game filled the void, if only for one night, and reminded everyone that basketball, even without the NBA, is here to stay. It’s too beloved not to.

“The slogan has been basketball never stops,” said Arinze Onuaku, the former Syracuse player and Goodman League regular. “To be able to do something like this during the lockout, it’s great.”

From the get-go, the vibe in the arena was buzzing. With around 2,000 people crammed around Trinity University’s purple-clad basketball court, all eyes were fixated on the game. Look away for a second, and you’d miss a JaVale McGee dunk courtesy of a Brandon Jennings lob. And that was only the first play of the game. It was a common sight to see John Wall whizzing from end to end and either spinning to the hole himself or throwing it up to KD for the jam.

But it was the final seconds that made the game. A game that after all of the buildup, far exceeded the hype. In the final minutes, security had to be called to keep the fans off the floor. They knew it was going to get crazy. And after Harden’s final jumper missed and the buzzer sounded, there was no one more excited than Durant and his fellow Washingtonians.

Because the answer was settled. Best basketball league in the country? D.C.

“We’re No. 1,” said Hugh “Baby Shaq” Jones, a Goodman League regular. “Now everybody’s gonna be gunning for us.”

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