Look up to the hoop heavens and amongst all the Basketball God’s in the clouds you’ll see visions of a young afro donning Kobe cross dribbling and tossing up an alley to the dominant Goliath of Shaquille O’Neal in purple and gold. Dunking it all over Portland like a true Trailblazer and the rest of greater Oregon as a whole with one outreached, falling back hand. Before lifting up both his arms like the Superman he is. Running back down court like he’s about to take off with a look of excitement on his wide eyes and mouth we’ve never ever even seen look like this from the ‘Most Entertaining Ever’. Something that looks like the wonder of children on Christmas morning for what’s all left under that tree by the big guy who finished off the milk and cookies. Or someone who has seen something take flight that is neither a bird or a plane. And we aren’t talking about no sleigh.
You’ll also see the King reach for the highest throne and bring the whole castle down in a flash. As one of the greatest duos next to the most dynamic ever was the dynamite explosion of Voltron down in the talents of South Beach. One where Miami Heat lifer and the greatest franchise face…sorry we mean Flash of the Florida foundation, Dwyane Wade pitched penny passes to the decision game changer of number 6 LeBron James. Like kids throwing snowballs until the slam spat that started everyone throwing them up like Will Ferrell’s hell of a windmill right arm in ‘Elf’.
That Anchorman was probably in attendance last night amongst the Hollywood elite for the perfect scripted ending to the last dance in La La Land between number 23 and the iconic Heat third of the big-three, D-Wade. For all the jerseys Wade’s world and wardrobe have collected off his competitors so far this season, none had as special meaning as this soccer swap with his former teammate and best friend for life. As he signed that back of his and traded for a signature Lakers, new era Showtime classic, the photo they posed for was big game James worthy of the same history book frames those game worn jerseys will end up residing in. Like the forever rafters they will one day join. Wade even gave the shoes off his feet to Laker captain Josh Hart. The soaring sophomore who wears number 3 because of Dwyane. Who told Hart in kind that he reminded him of himself and to keep going because he likes what he sees. How’s that for a high-five Josh?
The perfect partnership of James and Wade (along with the big man and big reason they won, Chris Bosh) rung up championships together at Sonic speed like cash registers during the holidays. And they even reunited in Cleveland last year for LeBron’s last run back home after Wade went to his in Chicago. Just like many thought they would do this season in Hollywood as Dwyane has been linked with the Lakers many times even before the King came to town. But as much as it is a shame for Lake Show fans to never see the Flash in purple and gold (there is always Carmelo Anthony and raising Ariza again). Seeing one last duel between one of the top three Shooting Guards ever and possibly the greatest ballplayer of all-time was more fitting like switching those shirts.
And what a duel it was. After LeBron torched the Miami Vice city for 51 weeks ago last month in his Heat homecoming, Wade’s stepped up show made this final meet one that was so much more Hollywood you couldn’t have blockbuster scripted it better.
Wade had 15 points to hand out with a team high 10 assists. Whereas the King had 28 as the two traded baskets and brotherhood slaps. James again flexing from way downtown he may as well have been Showtime showing off from back in South Beach. But the high-man in the City Of Angels was Kyle Kuzma who wants to be known for more than his offence, but still had an outstanding Kareem (33). But before the buzzer with the game on a 108-105, advantage Lakers line, Wade had a chance to at least take it to overtime and then some with a wild, off-balanced but still somewhat controlled clutch three that rimmed out.
Even this Lakers fan wanted it to go in for the perfect curtain call (kind of), but when the two former teammates ran for the loose ball as the backboard went neon like STAPLES outside and spilled into the crowd hugging and laughing the score in the end didn’t really matter.
This is why they play and this is why we watch.
What really meant something was the names flipped on the back of the jerseys for a flashbulb moment we will never forget. In the rocking chair tour of the league this was one last dance that didn’t miss a step.
The Warriors Came Out To Play This Series
Even without the fantasy Basketball of Kevin Durant in this series, the Golden State Warriors still brought out the brooms like ‘Fantasia’.
And swept out of Game 4 like Thanos click finger dust, the Portland Trailblazers may have only lost by a bucket (119-117)…and in overtime at that. But with all the Splash they had to contend with this series from brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, they were left dealing with more leaks and holes in all of their own ones like Mickey Mouse in said Disney epic.
This was meant to be the showdown between Dell Curry’s boys Steph and Seth which divided a household. And although the youngest gun stepped up to the plate, swung big in this carnival and knocked them down, big brother was always watching.
Steph Curry averaged over 36 points a game this series. Just read that again. 36 points. Right now we don’t need to talk about Kevin.
The Warriors are a dynasty for the ages even without their best player (although this writer thinks he wasn’t missing this entire series). The first team to make it to five straight finals since the Boston Celtics. The 1960’s Bill Russell Celtics. That’s King James crowning legendary. And Steph Curry with the shot and that facet of the game is just as iconic and dominant as a Bill block.
Give some credit to a blazing Portland side who never gave up despite the box score. They can hold their heads in the PDX. Even in their Moda Center home-stand City Of Roses end in RIP City. Their season eulogy should read as a celebration and commiseration, not a trolling condescension from critically entitled fans who have done nothing to determine the outcome of these games and could never make it this far in their wildest memes. They call themselves “influencers”? Well no one’s going to remember them in 50 years.
The NBA will remember one of their Top 100 greatest of all-time in a half century though. As after hitting the biggest buzzer beater in playoff history against Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, Damian Lillard played through the pain of separated ribs this series and still made the Basketball God’s look down from the hoop heavens with praise. Like New York singer St. Vincent tweeted, “Damian Lillard is my hero”. Even his backcourt brother of splash CJ McCollum in the only small man set up to rival Curry and Klay came out to play against the Warriors after midrange mining the Nuggets into submission in Denver just over a week ago.
But Curry’s red hot triple double, starter, mains and dessert dish of 37, 13 and 11, to go along with a playing not crying, Draymond Green’s day of 18, 14 and 11 assists also was just too much in the clutch. As Stephen and Dray became the first teammates in NBA history to have a triple double in the same playoff game. Forget how much this team can unbelievably keep winning, how does this ball manage to get shared this much?
Well that just may be the secret of success?
The real test is dubbed next however in the Warriors last season in Golden State before they move across that Golden bridge to the Silicon Valley of a digital age in San Francisco. They will play the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks (probably…Giannis…MVP. Sorry Toronto but come on!) and Raptors series. But by then they should have some guy called Kevin back.
I mean come on. This has been getting crazy. This is just out of hand like said ball in Splash City.
Now Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics’ record of eight straight finals and wins doesn’t look far out of reach for Steph Curry and the player and team with the biggest range in the association over the gate of the Pacific.
Welcome to the Toronto Raptors’ Jurassic Park
“In Jurassic Park, Raptor fans wait until after dark. Even if the cold might eat them!”
Fans find a way.
An ace serve or two away from being as legendary as Wimbledon’s ‘Murray Mound’ or ‘Henman Hill’ outside the Scotiabank Arena, the Toronto Raptors Maple Leaf Square’s “Jurassic Park” may just be the ticket for this sold out crowd.
Raptor Klaw, Kawhi Leonard ruled the earth last night. He and the T-Dot at the final tick beat the Sixers in The Six, as his shot bobbled like a beach ball on the surface of a swimming pool before making the biggest splash of these postseason playoffs. Taking longer to fall than Leonardo DiCaprio’s spinning top in ‘Inception’. But this was no dream.
And if you thought the Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto erupted last night, then outside in Maple Leaf Square it was like the volcanoes that killed the dinosaurs after that big ball dropped. An Armageddon even Bruce Willis couldn’t save like he wish he could his career.
Welcome to Jurassic World.
With all due respect to the Linsanity of Jeremy Lin, or pick your poison whoever is your flash card pick of the bench mob pack, but the Jurassic Park crowd fenced in outside of Scotia is the teams spiritual sixth man, spark plug. As electric as the paddock like perimeter fence surrounding them feels with this buzz over basketball (and national sport hockey come Leaf picking season), this crowd can’t be contained.
Forget rain or shine. You see the slickers. These faithful fans will pitch a spot waiting for game time like the ball to drop in Times Square for New Year in New York, sleeping bag lining up all day in their hordes huddled for warmth. These beautiful fans will brave the harshest, most frigid temperatures to be the coldest fans in the game in more ways than one. Part of the ‘We The North’ community in the 6 that the Basketball God’s look down on with pride, whilst other armchair fans watch this game for the throne from home. Or leave early like those suit and tie corporate seats trying to catch that last red eye Matt Bonner home.
Can you imagine of they called game early before Kawhi last night?
I could imagine Drake taking in the CN Tower looking up views of the Jurassic though, like it was all the basketball God’s plan.
Well those in the park for recreation stayed until the beautiful end to a game Butler almost delivered bitter. And you could could phantom cam see every emotion in slow motion last night as Leonard’s buzzer beating ball toyed with the rim like three dots on messenger, or Damien Lillard even further downtown in Oklahoma City.
This is the spirit of the stadium and the soul of the squad, expanding the capacity arena and the Canadian ballclubs worldwide fanbase watching on their own Jumbotrons.
And the Toronto Raptors are going to need all the north they can get if they’re going to stop the Bucks in Milwaukee.
But this club has the claws to do it. And if you don’t think they can win in Wisconsin on their own road to being the first franchise outside of the United States to be NBA finalists and who knows what next against the Warriors(?), then just watch this Canadian cornerstone from the Jurassic era.
Extinct in six? Nah! Get ready to hear the North roar.