Miami was down 95-92 to San Antonio in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. With the Spurs leading the series 3-2, this possession would force overtime or crown the Spurs champions.
LeBron James pulled up for three from the left arc. No good.
But Chris Bosh got the rebound and found Ray Allen in the corner for another try with very little time left to play.
Then, NBA play-by-play voice Mike Breen said it best.
"His three-pointer - BANG. Tie game with five seconds remaining."
If you follow the NBA, you’ve seen that highlight by now, most likely dozens of times. And that is just one of the many iconic moments in the NBA playoffs to look back on with fond memories. Since coronavirus put the entire world of sports on pause back in March, that is what I have missed most.
What I love about the NBA playoffs perhaps more than anything else is the home-court advantage that it brings. That is something that the Wide World of Sports can’t emulate when the majority of the NBA travels to Orlando to conclude the season.
Think of the intimidation when teams walk into Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. Think of the insane Utah Jazz fans that had Michael Jordan keeping his kids home when Chicago played in Salt Lake City. Think of how iconic Staples Center is, which would’ve hosted perhaps the two best teams in the playoffs in the Lakers and Clippers.
I love when the road team in the first two games of the NBA Finals steals a victory to shift the pressure. Just like when Golden State won Game 2 in 2019 in Toronto to make the series 1-1 and take back home court, just to get it snatched back by the Raptors in Game 4.
The chaos is the best part. And you get that chaos with home-court advantages and fans. The opposing team doesn’t just have to beat the team it’s facing, it has to beat the city behind it.
But I also miss the moments from the playoffs that we all talk about for years after. The NBA would have just crowned a new champion, and it would be a discussion all throughout social media and break rooms. At this point, we would have dunks from Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo all over Sportscenter to discuss and retweet. We would have new “Bad Beats” segments from ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt to show us who got screwed the hardest depending on which playoff team they bet on.
I miss the distraction from everyday life that is basketball, that is sports. We’ve been robbed of having moments where, even though we have a long day at a job we don’t even like, we get to mess with Bill from accounting because the Warriors lost.
And in a time where a distraction is so desperately needed, the best distraction can’t happen.
I miss it.