Russell Westbrook did not go gentle into that good night, and try as he might to rage against the dying of the light, the Rockets took flight and ended his fight.
Now that we’ve tipped our caps to Dylan Thomas, let’s get back to the NBA playoffs. James Harden and the Rockets kicked off Tuesday night’s slate of games by eliminating the Thunder in a 105-99 win. (Thanks to Russ for making the 2016-17 season a ton of fun.) As for the other series, the Spurs and Jazz both gained 3-2 leads in key Game 5 matchups. The Jazz will travel back home to Utah for Game 6 while the Spurs head to Memphis in the hopes of closing things out and meeting Houston in the second round.
Had Pacers coach Nate McMillan not called a timeout and allowed the Cavs defense to reset at the end of Game 1, maybe George would have found his own Iso Joe moment, both clutch and correct in the context of the game. But given the information presented to him, he kicked it over to Miles, and the veteran shooting guard got off a decent attempt, not unlike Young’s play above. If he passes back to George, then it’s one-on-one against James out near half court with less than five seconds to go.
The most clutch players in league history needed help to ultimately win it all. James inbounded the ball to Kyrie Irving before Irving drilled a 3-pointer in Game 7 last year to help bring Cleveland a title. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal both missed before the ball landed in the hands of Robert Horry for the game-winner in the 2002 Western Conference finals. Even Michael Jordan found an open Steve Kerr in the 1997 NBA Finals when John Stockton decided to double him.