Always Finish Strong

The past week has had some incredible finishes. Let us review them, shall we?

First, I’m going to jump back to the Sixer’s win over the Bulls to clinch the series. I couldn’t imagine a better finish. Our “star” player who’s struggled at the line all year completed two free-throws in the final seconds to win the game. I remember texting Adam during that time and saying something like, “If Iggy misses these….”

Imagine if he did miss them. I’m pretty sure he would have been murdered ala Andres Escobar style when he returned to Philadelphia. It would have been ugly. But, let’s forget that. He DID make them. It was ridiculously gratifying to see the Sixers win a close game, with Iguodala, in the fashion he did.

How about Doug Collin’s press conference at the end, too? “I started hearing the rumors about firing me. You hear that stuff. I’m a Sixer for life.”

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!! That’s what I want to hear. That’s exactly what I want him to say. Preach, Doug, preach. Preach… and stop crying post-game.

Moving on to soccer, if you didn’t happen to catch basically the most epic game in the history of soccer, Manchester City had one of the most amazing comebacks of all time by scoring 2 goals within a 5 minute period of stoppage time. Not only did they win the game, they won the entire Premier League title. It was about as dramatic as it could get.

I don’t want to focus on that, however. I want to focus on the lack of focus this game received. I understand that soccer isn’t necessarily the most appreciated sport in the United States these days, but its fan base is increasing and this game needed to be covered more than it was.

I’m pretty sure if you took the total audience of the last 4 NHL and NBA playoff games and compared them to the audience that watched the Manchester City & Manchester United games, it wouldn’t even come close. Internationally, mind you. I know that ESPN has different broadcasts for different countries, yada yada, that’s not my point.

It is remarkable how much control the media has over determining what it deems “worthy” of broadcasting. This goes for more than just sports, but I couldn’t believe that ESPN openly admitted that 4% of their broadcasting time is dedicated to hockey. 4%. For a league that only exists in the United States and Canada.

You build a fan base by creating interesting, identifiable players and teams. You can’t make them identifiable without exposure, and you can’t expose them unless they are interesting. So, you can, in some instances, make them interesting, justifying your exposure (see Tebow, Tim), or they do something interesting to organically justify that exposure. I think soccer has done that several times over.

Manchester United and City have had a huge rivalry fueled by the shit-talking of Wayne Rooney (only the biggest player in the league) and many of the City players. To have the entire season determined in less than 5 minutes from a miraculous comeback between those two teams is a story line worthy of discussion. Monday morning, however, it’s like the game never happened. PTI and Around the Horn didn’t even include it in the first 2 blocks of headlines.

Chock that up to whatever you’d like, but the media essentially dictates interest just as much (if not more) than actual public interest these days. It was disappointing to see them dismiss something that the rest of the world reveled in for days.

Switching back to them Sixers, though, a couple notes from our current series with Boston:

1 – Kevin Garnett, you ARE the dirtiest player in the NBA. It’s not a coincidence that several different players, coaches, and owners have labeled you this. I don’t know why the media portrays you as a hero, but you told Charlie Villanueva he had cancer during a game. That’s all I need to say about that. It was fitting that you lost Game 2 to an blatant offensive foul and cost your team the game. I honestly don’t even think it would have mattered. They were down by 3 with like 7 seconds to go. Only a miracle was making a difference anyway.

2- I don’t want to count my eggs before they hatch, BUT, BUTTTTTTT, if the Sixers win this series, and the Pacers somehow knock out the Heat, we will have another favorable matchup with a team we could beat in the Easter Conference Finals. We even beat the Pacers late in the season in a game determined by 3 points or less. Just a thought….

3 – We have won a lot of playoff games now by 5 points or less. During the regular season, that game I mentioned with the Pacers was the only one out of 10 or something. There is really no explaining that. The Evan Turner from December 2011 and the Evan Turner from May 2012 are completely different, though. I will say that much.

Alright gang. That’s it for me. Excelsior!

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