The rain finally got us. Despite The Politician’s repeated insistences that it’s merely “passing over”, the thunder and lightning that join the heavy downfall convince the organisers otherwise, and the announcement is made that we’re going to Gaucho’s for the first time this summer.
When we arrive, I discover that the notepad I’d kept in my back pocket for game notes is now looking like tissue paper. Given also that my laptop’s battery is running low, I’m only able to take down quick thoughts during timeouts, and these are presented below.
– Don Diva control the tempo early in the game but fail to maintain their momentum, allowing their opponents to crawl back into the contest midway through the first half. Sensing the opportunity to exploit a weak defence, they begin to isolate their guards on the wing, consistently finding a way into the paint for easy layups. The first half is a generally lacklustre affair, though, with both sides seeming content just to show up. Save for a few breakaway jams, little is highlight-worthy, and the play as a whole isn’t exactly the sort of basketball you’d use to educate your children.
– While Don Diva are unable to stem the flow in the second half, they find greater success in scoring themselves, putting a quick six points on the board with three fastbreaks. The tactic continues to bring success even with their opposition committing to transition defence, with consecutive three-on-two plays drawing them within four points at 39-35.
– Yet another defensive lapse by Hot 97 allows Don Diva to slip a pass inside to a big man who flushes it home to cut the deficit to two with 1:38 on the clock. Stopping Hot 97 with a block-and-gather in their own paint, they fall victim to poor luck on the ensuing play, their point guard taking a tumble in the lane and losing the ball out-of-bounds in the process.
– Fortune again proves their biggest enemy as they make what could be their penultimate attack, with a well-executed play resulting in a bank-shot that looks to be three-quarters of the way down before rattling out. Hot 97 again penetrate baseline and finish with an up-and-under layup that stretches their lead to four.
– Following a timeout, Don Diva find their big man on the block, who is fouled as he attempts a short hook, icing both of the charity shots to bring it back to two. With less than thirty seconds to go, they make the decision to foul immediately once the ball is inbounded, and it looks to have paid off when Hot 97 miss the front end of a one-and-one play. However, their outlet pass is stolen at halfcourt, and they’re again forced to foul.
– It’s a case of déjà vu when they gather the board and again find the lead pass in the hands of their opponents, although they redeem themselves partially by managing to send them to the line with over ten seconds left in the game. Hot 97 maintain their composure this time to knock down both shots, but Don Diva keep hope alive when they advance the ball down the court in under five seconds and hit a trey that draws them within one.
Once again, they put in a quick foul, and Hot 97 are sent to the stripe with 2.9 seconds showing on the scoreboard. When both shots find the bottom of the net while Don Diva’s desperation triple can only draw iron, the game is over, Hot 97 taking it 45-42.