Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Anatomy of huge blocks in the NBA Finals

The situation: Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals. The Chicago Bulls were leading the series, 3-2 and were on the Phoenix Suns' home floor of the American West Arena.

The Bulls led 99-98 with a few seconds left on the game clock, Phoenix Suns ball. Suns point guard Kevin Johnson inbounded the ball to center Oliver Miller near the halfcourt line. Johnson used Miller's pick to ditch Michael Jordan. 

Johnson blows past Bulls power foward Horace Grant while Jordan gives futile chase.

Grant recovers and blocks Johnson from behind to preserve the win for the championship!

The Bulls are three-time NBA champions!

And moving along to the 2016 NBA Finals where the Cleveland Cavaliers fought back from a 3-1 series deficit to the defending champions, Golden State Warriors to forge Game 7.

The score was tied at 89-all when Andre Igoudala chases down a rebound after a Kyrie Irving miss. He hightails it down. 

Only the Cavs' JR Smith is down to guard against the drive. Igoudala has two options: go hard or pass off to Steph Curry who sometimes pulls up on the break for a jumper. LeBron James is two steps behind Curry. He knows Igoudala's option and is looking to steal or block Curry if he decides to pull up. He's toast though if the reigning league MVP drives to the basket as well.

Igoudala feeds Curry. Smith commits to Curry but knows the possibility of a return pass to Igoudala. 

And that happens. Igoudala gets the ball and launches himself.

That Smith contested the shot forces Igoudala to contort himself giving James time to help. 
BLOCK! James has payback for the Christmas Day block by Igoudala (the Warriors were leading 77-71 when James drove hard and Igoudala, somewhat beaten on the play didn't give up to block LBJ). But more importantly on this play, the Warriors didn't score with time down to 1:52 left. Smith grabs the rebound. 

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