Playoffs R1G6 vs. DEN: A side of game to go along with an extra-large whistle
This game was not just a malfunctioning roller coaster ride (start and stop, start and stop, start and stop every other second on whistles). It was a malfunctioning roller coaster ride in a nightmare, i.e. you have to factor in blood pounding in your ears, irrational fear and a complete loss of control over your surroundings.
It was a game in which every shot made–especially threes–felt huge and somehow made you even more nervous, while every missed shot felt like doomsday and the one that lost the game.
It didn’t get off to a great start (as usual). Fes shot the worst FT in Jazz history (the downward trajectory of the shot started about three feet in front of him), and it seemed like the Jazz had either coated their hands in butter before tip-off, or the Nuggets were managing to deflect every single pass. There were innumerable ugly, forced passes inside that did no good, and the officiating only made the game uglier (35 fouls in the first half) and interminably longer (1.5 hours of game time at the half).
Nevertheless, the Jazz connected on enough shots to take a 15-point lead with about 5 minutes left in the second quarter. And then Adrian Dantley unleashed the newest member of the Jazz Killer of the Night club on us. Joey Graham put up 19 points on 8-10 shooting in 12 minutes and singlehandedly spurred an 18-2 Nuggets run. Two Melo FTs cut the Jazz lead down to 1 with 29 seconds left, and the Jazz went into halftime with a 2-point lead.
Deron picked up his fourth foul midway through the third, and had to sit for the rest of the quarter. The third was extremely close, with the lead changing hands multiple times. By the end of the period (Boom Bitches!), there’d been 52 fouls called–compared to 39 & 40 total in the other two games of the night.
The fourth was all Millsap and Matthews. Simply put, their makes at the FT line (combined 20-25) won us the game. I was so nervous I couldn’t concentrate, but the plays and buckets/FTs that pierced my hazy consciousness late in the game were all Millsap and Matthews. As if the madly-flapping butterflies weren’t enough, the end–the closing seconds–was total WTFness because you wanted to cheer for the victory, but couldn’t because Deron was doubled-over in pain from a Birdman screen. As a result, I don’t have any way to close this post except to say that I hope Deron is OK.
70 fouls and 91 FTAs for the game (shaking my head). No one wants to watch the refs. Just let teams play.
It’s been four hours since the game ended, but I’m sitting here with the jitters wondering when my limbs will stop feeling like spaghetti, when my heart will beat normally again, when my lungs will expand to full capacity again, and when my stomach will unclench. I feel like I’ve spent all day hopped up on espresso, eating from a bucket of lard, chain-smoking cigarettes, and doing pushups. The Jazz are such an unhealthy habit, but they’re mine and man, do I love them.