Top 5 Games of Last Week (3/31/14 – 4/6/14)
Tonight, the Madness ends. And no matter which team wins, we’re all winners–NOT. OK, I guess Warren Buffett can count himself a winner, and on the court tonight there will most certainly be a winner. But that’s about it. There’s no question it was a great March Madness, but I’m not going to sit here and say my March wouldn’t have been a little bit Madder with a billion dollars. You win this round, Buffett.
#5. Oklahoma City Thunder at Phoenix Suns
Good news – Durant’s streak continues – he’s now at 41 games in a row of 25 points or more. That’s one more than Jordan. Bad news: Oscar Roberston did it in 46 straight games during the 1963-1964 season. Good news: Durant’s getting better and better as a player throughout this streak, recording 11 assists against the Suns. Bad news: Wilt Chamberlain did it in all 80 regular season games in 1961-1962. Good news: Durant started this streak when his team needed it most, so every performance mattered. Bad news: the Thunder still lost, 122-115. Good news: this is your clear bang-for-your-buck pick of the week, with ticket prices at just $108.43.
#4. Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers
Um, I just have to talk about this game. I know Hawks put a beat down on the Pacers, stomping them 107-88 – that’s why I have to talk about it. Excuse me, but how does a team that’s 53-25 let a team that’s 34-42 mop the floor with them on their home court? The Pacers are the NBA’s best home team at 34-6…! For the Pacers and their fans, this must seem like some horrible, delayed April Fools prank. “Just kidding! You’re not really falling apart.” But they are. They scored a franchise-low 23 points in the first half. Call me a prisoner of the moment, but aren’t you starting to have trouble envisioning the Heat-Pacers Conference Finals, too?
#3. Charlotte Bobcats at Cleveland Cavaliers
Neither the Bobcats nor the Cavaliers are going to top anyone’s list of most exciting teams to watch in the NBA, but both were competing for a playoff spot on Saturday. With their win in OT, the Bobcats clinched just their second playoff birth in franchise history. Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, desperate to make the playoffs himself, showed his heart with a career-high 44 points, but it wasn’t enough. For once, the Bobcats were too good.
#2. Connecticut Huskies vs. Florida Gators
This game had such promise. And then it didn’t. What initially looked like a Florida rout turned into a Connecticut advantage, and the Huskies never let go. The Huskies defense buckled down, DeAndre Daniels stepped up, and Shabazz Napier was, well, you know, Shabazz Napier – he did his Napier thing. Fans who paid the $608.28, you probably wanted more of a game. Then again, so did the Gators.
#1. Kentucky Wildcats vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Headlines like “Harrison does it again” really bother me. Sure, he hit the game winner again with seven seconds left, and that’s awesome, but leading with that neglects the larger story of the game: how the Wildcats–ever so slowly– clawed their way back. They’re a team of freshmen – they could’ve gone silently into the night and no one would’ve thought any less of them, but they didn’t. They led for about five minutes in the first half, and then not again until there were 17 minutes left in the second half. They then held the lead for all of six minutes, and then, as if on cue, fell behind for most of the remainder of the game. Finally, with a little over two minutes left, the Wildcats took back the lead, before falling behind by two points with 16 seconds to play. That’s when Harrison comes into the picture with that last, beautiful three-pointer. Not before. Before was a team effort.