Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hoop Dream

Saturday began with a surprisingly entertaining ESPN broadcast of the Sunderland - Stoke City tie and was followed by reports of Charlton Athletic's maintenance of Chris Powell's perfect record (three wins in three fixtures) and household-favorite Gregory Tade's brace that gave Raith Rovers another three points.

And, yet, most of my thoughts today have focused on a sport other than soccer. I am tapping this out while watching the remarkably entertaining first half between my Chicago Bulls and the Golden State Warriors. The Bulls play like a finely-tuned machine; for whatever reason -- and I would imagine that it is a confluence of many different things going right -- everything has clicked and their current form has to put them in the top four in the NBA.

But the appointment television of Chicago Bulls game, tonight, follows the privilege of having seen Marshon Brooks' ridiculous performance at the Verizon Center this afternoon.

My daughter joined me for the game and, consequently, my attention was not always on what was happening on the floor. Nevertheless, even distracted, it was impossible not to notice what Brooks was doing. Throughout the first half, it seemed a novelty. At halftime, the friend that had given us the tickets and I reminisced about Quincy Douby. Douby's final game against the Hoyas in DC a little less than five years ago -- where he dropped in 29 of the Scarlet Knights' 50 -- left an impression.

As it turned out, another Douby -- Brooks comparison would have been more apt. Three weeks before his last trip to Verizon, Douby went to the Carrier Dome and nearly carried Rutgers to an upset victory in overtime. Douby accounted for 41 of Rutgers' 84 points, but a Terrence Roberts' three at the death negated Quincy's ridiculous effort.

This afternoon, Brooks' 43 (of Providence's 81) put the Friars in a position to win a game that, by rights, they had no business contesting. I think I get what JTIII was trying to do by shutting down everyone else not named Marshon, but the strategy seemed to backfire when the game came down to a single shot on two separate occasions. Both times, Chris Wright did enough to disrupt (and perhaps foul) Mr. Brooks to deny the storybook ending.

Years of watching Big East basketball mean that performances like Brooks' today are particularly savored. He managed to keep all of us on the edge of our seat -- including my two-year old. Thoroughly entertaining. It's nice to love basketball again.

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