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Gift-wrapped (cont.)

Posted: Monday June 20, 2005 11:51AM; Updated: Monday June 20, 2005 11:51AM
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Anyway, the game itself was what we all hoped it would be. It was tight throughout, and even when San Antonio opened a nine-point lead, Detroit closed it quickly. The crowd was in full voice, so loud I couldn't even talk to my co-worker Khalid Salaam, sitting two feet away from me. (Hawks guard Boris Diaw was in attendance to see his buddy Tony Parker play, and Boris said that while the Detroit crowd was probably the NBA's loudest, there were arenas in Europe where players would leave with sore ears from the noise.) Say what you will about the song, but there's something impressive about 22,976 fans singing Who Let the Dogs Out? in unison.

I figured the game was Detroit's to win, until Horry decided to start playing. A day earlier, Horry had noted that he expected a big game from San Antonio, saying, "We can't go nowhere else, we done hit rock bottom." While the Tim Duncan Robot bricked free throw after free throw, Horry was amazing. Each time he squared up for a three, a hush hit the Palace, as we all thought, Nah, no way he makes another one. But they just kept falling, until the game was over and the Spurs held a 3-2 series lead.

As the Pistons left the court, the fans gave them a standing ovation, a classy move for a group that left their hearts on the floor. In the Spurs locker room, Parker said (in French) that he was going to give Horry a French kiss.

When Khalid and I left and hopped in our rental car, we had to find some quiet music, because our nerves were still jangled from watching maybe the best Finals game since Jordan bested the Jazz. The League's ratings may be down, but on any given night, NBA action can still be fantastic.

Oh, and Happy Father's Day, dad. Hope you stayed awake. It was totally worth it.

Lang Whitaker is the online editor at SLAM magazine and writes daily at http://www.SLAMonline.com.