June 11, 2019

And back to Oakland

β€œSo set up your attacks that when the fire is out, it isn’t out.”  - Harry Nelson Pillsbury

Kawhi Leonard had just gone on a Jordanesque 10-0 run late in the fourth quarter to give the Raptors the lead.  The Warriors' best player had hurt himself badly and left on crutches, to the delight of the hometown crowd.  The champagne was on ice and Bill Russell waited patiently in the hallway, ready to present the  championship trophy. 

All that remained was to close the thing out.  Raptors coach Nick Nurse, noticing that his squad was tiring, called timeout, and gave them a moment to catch their breath.   He may well have turned to Steve Kerr and said something like "before you die I believe you will be interested in hearing how I defeated you."

All of this, in hindsight, was a mistake.

On the final possession of the game, needing just a basket to win, Leonard brought the ball up but encountered spirited opposition.  Two quick passes later, Kyle Lowry held the ball in the corner, poised to bury the game winner as the clock ticked down.  But as he released the shot a Warrior hand grazed the ball....

And they took the champagne back, and Bill Russell sat down, and they carted the trophy away.

"The only important statistic is the final score." - Bill Russell


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