What a great day of basketball we had in the first round of the Summer 2021 playoffs. We had two one-point games, two two-points games, plus a four-point game and a five-point game that both were decided in the final 10 seconds. Out of 20 games, only one was a blowout, with all of the others being hotly contested throughout.
The game between Team UGLY and Average Joes was an absolute classic. After a tight game for 35 minutes, Team UGLY scratched out a 54-48 lead with under 30 seconds to play in front of a raucous crowd. You would have thought, with all of the top-level talent on the floor, the game would have been over. But the Joes worked the ball inside to Chaz Mack, who put up a shot but was fouled. And yes, it was a foul. Stevie Wonder could have called that foul.) But the UGLY player slammed the ball to the floor, earning a technical foul. Mack, a recent graduate of Cornell University, went to the line and sank the two free throws for the foul and then two more for the technical foul. The Joes got the ball at halfcourt, threw it in and promptly hit a three-pointer to complete the crazy seven-point play and take a one-point. UGLY threw it in to LJ Turner, who hurried down the court and hit and off-balance, twisting shot in the lane with one second left. The Joes inbounded the ball but couldn't get off a shot. With the win, Team UGLY will face the top-seeded Hawgs in the semifinals.
Beige Sharks, one of only two teams to go winless in the regular season, put on a crazy shooting display to down Below The Rim. The Ruffles, the only other team to have been winless in the regular season, got by Team Ignite, 43-39 and will face Rainbow Drillers in the semis. The Ruffles drive into town every Sunday from the Winkleman/Ray area.
Those with a sharp eye may have noticed that I shifted a couple brackets around. For example, Rainbow Drillers and The Ruffles both requested 8:00 p.m. games due to work schedules. So, instead of having them play different opponents in the same bracket, I just matched them up against each other at 8:00. It was a stroke of genius. I think I hurt my rotator cuff patting myself on the back. (I also did it with Lost Treasures and Pass The Ball To Chris.)
Also, all of you who are emailing me, interested in getting a new team in the league or catching on as an individual, please know that I have all of the emails in a folder and will deal with them on Labor Day AND NOT BEFORE. The next season will start on September 19th; we're still three weeks away. I sincerely appreciate your interest, but sending me four emails isn't going to give you four times the chance of getting in. If anything, it will give you one-fourth the chance. I promise that I will respond to everybody next week. Thank you.
Smokin' 3s brought the biggest crowd of the day and rewarded their fans with a down-to-the-wire, two-point win over Free Agent Team 2. Abraham Mendoza hit a three with 20 seconds left to break a tie, leading The Show over Scout Team. Glass Monkeys continued their late-season surge with a convincing win over a tough 1 National Championship Drive squad.
In the first game of the day, Franchise and MHP traded the lead back and forth three times in the final minute before Franchise held on for a 50-49 victory. Gotem edged perennial title contender Icy Hots, 44-42.
The semifinals are this week, and yes, we're playing on Labor Day Weekend. Only soccer players go on vacation. We're ballers!