Basketball, Columnists, Sports

The 2-3 Zone, featuring NBA memories

The NBA postponed its season three months — wait, it was actually three weeks — ago, and my life just hasn’t been the same since. My late nights watching West coast games have ended. My hours spent scrolling through fresh NBA Twitter content are now empty. My once-filled NBA appetite has transformed into pangs of emptiness and hunger.

Plain and simple, I miss basketball.

So, this column will be dedicated to some of my favorite moments in basketball history.

The “3”

The 2007-08 Boston Celtics are the reason I bleed green to this very day. They were pure magic. Before the ‘08 NBA season, I hadn’t been much of a basketball fan, but watching this team, it was impossible to not be sucked in.

Those classic jerseys. The parquet. Undeniable chemistry. Smothering defense. Beautiful teamwork. Leon Powe. This team had it all. 

Some may call me a bandwagon fan for becoming a fan of a team that won 66 games and a championship that year. But I was drawn in by something more than winning. Maybe it was those gritty Kevin Garnett knuckle pushups or Rajon Rondo’s flashy tip-off antics. No matter what it truly was, I have loved this team ever since.

And that immense love I have for the Boston Celtics makes this next favorite just a bit more difficult to write.

LeBron James’ performance in the 2016 NBA Finals is maybe the greatest basketball run I have ever witnessed. I know, I know, as a diehard Celtics fan, I should probably hold some contempt for James, but it’s hard to not love watching the greatest basketball player to ever walk the earth.

You all know how the series goes. James puts up historic numbers, and he leads the Cleveland Cavaliers back from down 3-1 to beat a 73-9 Golden State Warriors team led by the unanimous league MVP, Stephen Curry.

Most importantly, we got the “blocked by James” moment, which always gives me chills. It was 

But the final NBA moment of this section is my favorite NBA Twitter moment ever. 

On January 16, 2018, the Houston Rockets played the Los Angeles Clippers in Chris Paul’s first game against his former team in the Staples Center.

While much of what we learned during the night was later proven to be untrue, the night still remains the epitome of the glorious drama that the NBA is so often subject to.

After a contentious game, chaos ensued in the underbelly of the Staples Center. Clint Capela tried to get through the front door of the Clippers’ locker room, several Rockets players pursued a fight with Austin Rivers, and Chris Paul apparently led his team through secret tunnels to seek out the Clippers in their locker room. The LAPD was even called.

Everything about the night was utterly ridiculous and watching it unfold in real time on Twitter was an experience like no other.

The “2”

It would be hard for me to write this column without mentioning my favorite performance from a Celtic. 

Isaiah Thomas’ 53-point performance in an overtime 2017 playoff win was heart-wrenching and legendary, and I loved every second of it. On his late sister’s birthday, Thomas scored a career high, while also winning the Celtics a playoff game. And it perfectly capped off a beautiful story of a season for Thomas.

Yes, the Celtics eventually lost to the Cavaliers in the next series. But that 53-point performance capped off a season in which a mere 5-foot-9 NBA player managed to finish fifth in the MVP race.

The story was perfect, and the performance by Thomas in that game against the Wizards was probably the last piece of the puzzle for his future 30 for 30.

Finally, I want to take one moment to remember my favorite college basketball player of all time, since the cancellation of the NCAA tournament has broken my heart almost as much as the temporary loss of NBA basketball.

Malik Monk at the University of Kentucky was a flamethrower. Game after game during the 2016-17 college basketball season, I watched him hit outrageous threes and bang dunks on unsuspecting players.

In my time watching college hoops, I have never seen someone quite as electric as Monk. His numbers weren’t the most gaudy, but he generated highlight after highlight. And he even gave me my favorite in-person sports memory of all time.

In a December matchup against the University of North Carolina in Las Vegas, Monk erupted for 47 points. As I watched from the stands, it seemed like Monk could hit any shot he wanted all night. It was electric and gorgeous, and it will always be one of the reasons I will never stop loving basketball.

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