So many things get lost in the subsequent noise. For example, you couldn’t even hear what Allen was screaming after he made the shot. “Get those [motherbleeping] ropes out of here,” is what he spat at the sideline security in a jubilant din he had just created. Officials had cordoned the court to protect it from a rush for a Spurs championship ceremony that Allen may have postponed forever, and so the champion defiance leaked out of him with a radiator hiss, but all that loud noise — of delight, of surprise, of all the best feelings sports can give — was promptly engulfed by the more joyless kind the media births with instantaneous pronouncements that see-saw from game to game.
Missing the point
Popovich had taken out Duncan late, and this allowed second chances on random bounces. A series before this, the Indiana coach had also taken out his biggest player late, albeit for different reasons, and The Avalanche Of Unreasonable fell atop him, too. The criticism is so loud and overwhelming and instantaneous that it ignores that the Heat, which has proved to be kind of good at this game, often put opposing coaches in the position of choosing from only among bad options. But the math is always in the critic’s favor on these things when grilling the loser. The result, forever, is 100 percent wrong. And the imaginary secondary-guess, while never actually played out, gets to work successfully 100 percent of the time in our imaginations.
So many things were beaten back with that one shot for Miami. America’s mocking laughter. An offseason of loud and awful questions. The champion Spurs. Because we are too often prisoners of the moment in sports, and because you can distract us with noise the way you distract a crying baby with a mobile placed above the crib, Allen’s shot camouflaged that the Heat gagged and wheezed its way through a late-game disaster that merited having its season ended at home with echoing and awful punctuation. If that single shot had missed — same trajectory, as always from Allen, but a miss — not a single one of Popovich’s decisions would have been questioned, not one, and The Avalanche of Unreasonable would have fallen with great fury atop Erik Spoelstra instead.
The stakes do not get any higher than they are Thursday in sports, South Florida teetering on the tipping point.
One game for everything, the lunacy of the past three years poured into a single night, maybe a single bounce.
Win, and you don’t care where the blame goes.
Lose, and you won’t be able to keep it off of you for months and into next season.
You already did the chest-tightening-vision-blurring-stomach-dancing-breath-laboring thing in Game 6.
Are you ready to do it again?