Friday, May 1, 2009

The Hits Just Keep Comin'!

I simultaneously envy and pity fans of the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls. Can there any greater pleasure for a sports fan than this series? On the other hand, however, how does a series like this not shave years off of every fan’s life? More than anything, I’m just happy to be alive for this series.

While powerful performances on the stage or the screen speak to our emotions, their outcome is predetermined; sports, however, are our greatest theater, capable of taking us on the same intense, emotional ride, but with the ultimate outcome a mystery to all. Occasionally, however, a matchup comes about that, even were it to be scripted and marketed like a movie, would still be a blockbuster. The first round series we are witnessing between the Celtics and the Bulls is a perfect example.

Heading into this series, had someone provided a spoiler of what was to come- a seven-game series, five of the first six decided by no more than 3 points, four of those games extra time, one requiring two overtime sessions, another three- I’d wait outside a theater for as long it took to watch that! Throw in the phenomenal clutch play of Ray Allen and Ben Gordon, the explosion of Rajon Rondo and the arrival of Derrick Rose, and we are in the midst of not just one of the all-time great series in NBA playoff history, but we are witnessing the game at is absolute best- this is sports taken to its highest elevation.

Often times, a playoff series that goes the distance winds up becoming a war of attrition- but not this one! Not only has the intensity picked up as this series has progressed, but the level of play has been elevated as well. If it hasn’t been Derrick Rose tying the scoring record for a playoff debut, it’s been Ray Allen nailing clutch jumpers or hitting for 51, or Ben Gordon making seemingly unmakeable shots down the stretch, or Rajon Rondo churning out yet another triple-double. Man, this series has been awesome!

On the heels of yet another classic, this time a triple-overtime Game 6, we look ahead to Saturday’s Game 7, scheduled for 8:00pm (Eastern time) in Boston, and can only hope that these teams have one more epic battle left in them.

Thank you, Celtics. Thank you, Bulls.

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