Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Flu, The Flash, and The Worse Way to get 'ROB'bed

Game 5's all about momentum shift. On a  2-3-2 format, this is the game the either sends you home via 4-1 or prolonging the anxiety via 3-2. Game five is the last home game of the lower seeded team in the NBA finals so this game is a deciding one for the series and for the past few NBA championships we, basketball fans, have witnessed game five is as good as advertised.

Let's take a look back at game 5 performances of the ages.

1. Michael Jordan (1997)

"That was probably the most difficult thing I've ever done" - Michael Jordan
In front of a 19, 911 anxious crowd, being diagnosed with stomach virus, and Utah winning two straight games, his airness gave the basketball world a performance with no excuse.  Tim Grover, Jordan's athletic trainer, claimed that MJ's sickness was brought by a food poisoning because of the pizza he ate a night before the game. You can read the story here. MJ was told by his trainer that there is no way he can play for game 5 due to the fact that he can even barely sit up. With the series tied at 2-2 and the Bulls' fate unclear as their leader's presence remains questionable hours before tip-off, Jordan, visibly weak and pale carried the Bulls to win the game putting them in command of the series 3-2.  Forever remembered as "the flu game", Michael Jordan, just gave the Utah Jazz' fans one more reason to hate him. Playing with flu-like symptoms or, we should say being food poisoned, yet providing 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block all in a jam packed 44 minutes of action add insults to injury. Witness the flu game here.

2. Dwayne Wade (2006)
Wade torched the Mavs with 43 points and setting an NBA Finals record of 21 free throws made in a single game.

Before the Big 3, "the flash" was already a force to be reckoned with in the NBA. His first NBA Finals appearance was, up to date, the most highly adored performance of all-time. Topping the ESPN's Greatest Finals Performance defeating Michael Jordan on the race; 2006' NBA Finals was a series to remember because of this man and game 5 of that series out-shined all his other games. He was clearly very unstoppable at that time that the only way to minimize his damage was to send to him to the stripe - Wade then attempted 25 free throws on that game alone. Mark Cuban, Mavs' team owner, was fined with a head shaking 250,000 dollars for "acts of misconduct" on this game due to controversial fouls and questionable officiating he violently questioned. Judge it for yourself, watch as "the flash" rolled his way to his first championship ring here.

3. Robert Horry (2005)

'Big Shot Rob' does it again!
12 lead changes and 18 ties, Spur-Pistons series came down to the wire. Game was so close that even 48 minutes of basketball isn't enough so they proceeded to overtime. Disregarding Duncan and Manu's stats because we are always expecting them to deliver big numbers, Robert Horry was more like the story of the game. Providing 21 points off the bench with a 5-out-6 shooting beyond the arc, and more importantly, the late game winning jumper were Horry's contributions. Watch as the Pistons got robbed here. How's that for a Horry's scale, eh?