The NBA Closer is written by Matt McHale, who's going to just start flopping, hacking and thugging people from behind in his pickup league. If anybody says anything, he can just tell them that he's playing "championship basketball." When he's not figuring out new ways to sweep the leg, he can be found working on his shiv at Basketbawful. Enjoy!
They are who we thought they were. Faced with a must-win situation at home, the San Antonio Spurs did what they always seem to do: They used flawless execution, ruthless efficiency, and a third quarter flopstravaganza to turn a close game into a 99-80 route. But of course winning wasn't enough for Robert Horry.
With 10:11 left in the fourth and the Spurs leading by 21, Cheap Shot Rob aimed a hard — and illegal — pick right into the meaty goodness of David West's injured back. And just like last season when he thugged Steve Nash, San Antonio got the optimum payoff: Horry got tagged with a simple offensive foul and David West got carried out in a body bag. (OK, OK, he just writhed on the floor a few minutes until a couple trainers helped him limp and shuffle back to the locker room. But the body bag thing sounded a lot cooler, didn't it?)
The Spurs won thanks to big games from Manu Ginobili (25 points, 9-for-15) and Tim Duncan (20 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists), a three-point barrage from Ginobili (6-for-9) and Ime Udoka (3-for-3), and a cluster of critical offensive fouls drawn by the flop-a-riffic acting skills of Duncan and Bruce Bowen, who sold charges the way a used car salesman might stick you with a rusty lemon that won't even get you home from the lot. But don't take my word for it ... watch for yourself:
Was there some home cookin' involved? Well, let me put it this way: During that third quarter flop-a-palooza, Paul got called for his third and fourth fouls and West got called for his second and third, all in about a minute. Then, a few minutes later, West picked up his fourth. Next thing you know, the Spurs were leading by 15 and the game was pretty much over. But I'm sure it was all just a big coincidence.
The Hornets played hard, but — other than Chris Paul (21 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists) — not well. David West managed only 10 points on 4-for-14 shooting before Horry Cobra Kai'ed him, Peja Stojakovic finished with 13, and Tyson Chandler scored 14 on 7-for-8 shooting, but he grabbed only 6 rebounds and couldn't contain Duncan. And don't even get me started in on the New Orleans "bench." (Although, to be fair, Julian Wright played pretty well — 8 points on 4-for-8 shooting.)
The series is now knotted at 3-all. Game 7 is Monday. Now somebody go call a witch doctor or a faith healer or something and have them fix West's back.