In case you missed it, Monday night featured the second batch of conference semifinal openers — two games that ranged from very, very good to instant classic (as much as a conference semifinal Game 1 can be considered a classic). First, the Chicago Bulls somehow managed to beat the well-rested Miami Heat in South Beach, 93-86, with what was essentially a six-man lineup that was without
Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, pretty much everyone…again.
Carlos Boozer was his typical non-factor self against Miami, but Nate Robinson (27 points, 9 rebounds…and ten stitches) and Jimmy Butler (21 points, 14 rebounds) picked up the slack, leading a physical Bulls onslaught that out-rebounded the home team 46-32. LeBron James notched a very LeBron-like line (24 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists), but didn’t get much help outside of Dwyane Wade’s 14 points — no other Heat players hit double digits in scoring.
After a Marco Belinelli three tied the game at 86-86, Nate Robinson went to work:
And, in news that should surprise nobody, after LeBron air-balled a short off-balance jumper that would have cut the lead to two, Miami fans started heading for the exits — with 24.6 seconds still remaining in the game. We don’t have video of it, but trust us, it happened.
That was only warm-up to the absurd nightcap in San Antonio, where Steph Curry extended his run of third quarter offensive assaults, posting a 22-point quarter that was about as ridiculous as anything that’s happened against the Spurs in the playoffs since, well, that time Oklahoma City ran off four wins in a row last year. We’d describe it for you, but watching the whole thing is just better:
The Spurs found themselves down 16 with just over four minutes to go, which, in Pop-Speak, apparently means “right where we want them”, as Tony Parker & Co. ran off an 18-2 run that sent the game to overtime. Unfortunately, that game-tying run (capped off by a Danny Green three-point shot) led to a horrific instance of obnoxious fandom that made the final few seconds of regulation, and all of overtime, damn near unwatchable.
Deadspin’s Tim Burke said the screams couldn’t have come from the crowd mics (totally believable, by the way, because TNT has a pristine track record of avoiding isolated fans), which means it could only come from a broadcast mic. So, who is it, San Antonio? Fess up now, and we won’t hold it against you.