Tuesday , Jul , 18 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

EBC Day Sixteen: Don Diva vs. Long Island’s Finest

Regardless of who takes this evening’s Game Two, I can tell you one thing for damn sure: The heat beat us all. Even with the hour hand nearing the vertical and the park floodlights turned halfway up, there’s not an ass in the park that isn’t saturated with sweat. Surprisingly, it’s one of the best-insulated people at the Rucker – a hefty specimen going by the telling nickname “Buffet King” – who runs the show in the opening minutes, clearing space inside for four of his team’s first five buckets.

Still, the temperature keeps the tempo of the game slower than molasses, and the score stands at 17-12 in LIF’s favour halfway through the first period. Although the guard-forward pairing of “The Nursery Rhyme” and Rob Hines contribute two baskets apiece to a mini-run that gives Don Diva hope of making it back into the game, they again fall prey to Long Island’s superior play in the paint, falling into an eight-point hole on an impressive and-one slam just before the half.

EBC Day Sixteen: Don Diva vs. Long Island's Finest

Rob Hines again does his best to drag DD back into competition after the break, and his hustle appears infectious when his teammates join him in crashing the boards to bring it to five following a pull-up trifecta from The Nursery Rhyme. However, LIF quickly regain control of the glass, scoring back-to-back-to-back second-chance baskets to start running away from their opponents at the ten-minute mark.

While Don Diva exploit LIF’s closed defence with three threes in as many minutes, they can’t hang with them in the key, where they give up countless layups and hooks to rack up a double-digit deficit with seven and change left in the game. Although a quick three, steal and breakaway bucket make a thirteen-point difference only eight, that’s as close as DD get for the rest of the game, their foul-and-fire plans backfiring on them in the closing minutes. With Diva down fifteen with sixty-three ticks remaining and neither team looking interested in the game, the referee calls it, ending things at 86-71 and giving Long Island’s Finest their first win of the season.