Apparently I missed a pretty good basketball game last night. The Raptors and Celtics battled into double overtime with their Eastern Conference second round series on the line. Trailing the series 3-2, Toronto led for much of the second half, but two straight buckets by Daniel Theis tied the score at 98-98 with two minutes left. No one would score for the rest of regulation time despite Kemba Walker appearing to get hammered on a layup attempt in the closing seconds.
That would be Boston’s best chance to win the game, as Norm Powell of all people came through with some incredible clutch play for the Raptors in the overtime periods. In the first overtime, he hit a three-point shot to tie the score at 104-104 with two minutes left and then hit two free throws to give Toronto the lead.
In double overtime, there was an insane sequence in which seven straight field goals were made with each one tying the game or changing the lead. Powell was in the thick of the action, hitting another three to tie the score before coming up with a steal that led to a breakaway layup plus the foul. The old-fashioned three-point play put Toronto ahead by four with just 38 seconds left. Jayson Tatum drew the Celtics within a bucket, but Kyle Lowry scored the last of his game-leading 33 points on a fade-away jumper to finally put the game away.
It’s crazy to think that we were half a second away from Boston taking a 3-0 lead in this series. Now we’re set up for what should be a dramatic Game 7 on Friday. I think the Celtics are better, so I’m picking them to win, but Toronto moving on to the Conference Finals with a chance to win the East again after losing Kawhi Leonard would be a hell of a story.
Boy, it must have been exciting to watch that game live, but I was watching the stupid Mets. To be fair, if the Mets had been REALLY stupid, I would have flipped to the basketball game in time for the conclusion, but the baseball was surprisingly good.
After getting blown out by Baltimore on Tuesday night, the Mets appeared headed to a similar fate. The Orioles opened the game by peppering Rick Porcello with hits. The veteran didn’t give up a home run or a walk, but he didn’t get many soft-hit ground balls either. Baltimore hit line drive after line drive, racking up five runs and 10 hits off Porcello in the first three innings.
The Mets would battle back this time, though. Jeff McNeil stayed hot with a two-run home run in the fourth, and the Mets get two more in the fifth on a Michael Conforto solo shot and a Robinson Cano RBI single. However, the Orioles still had a 6-5 lead thanks to DJ Stewart’s home run off Chasen Shreve in the top of the fifth.
And that lead could have, would have, should have been extended if not for a game-saving and season-saving play by Conforto in the top of the sixth. Shreve and Jared Hughes combined to get the first two outs of the inning, but then Hughes, who helped the Yankees overcome a five-run deficit in similar fashion, walked one batter and plunked the next two. That prompted Luis Rojas to bring in Justin Wilson to face the left-handed Rio Ruiz strand all three runners.
Just look at that ball come off the bat. The only question is whether the Orioles will score three or four runs on the play. Conforto is running INTO the wall with his back to the infield and somehow made the most spectacular over-the-shoulder catch in the biggest of circumstances. Scooter can do it all and is a great clubhouse guy to boot. Signing him to a long-term deal should be top priority for the next owner of the Mets.
The catch of the century wouldn’t mean much if the Mets didn’t rally, but Andres Giminez came through with an opposite-field home run in the bottom of the sixth. After Wilson and Jeurys Familia held the score steady in the seventh and eighth, Pete Alonso hit a blast of his own to give New York a 7-6 lead heading into the ninth. When Edwin Diaz shut down Baltimore to close out the game, it felt like there was some magic in the air. The Mets are still two games out of the postseason with 16 to play, but it’s impossible not to believe at least a little after last night.
So yeah, that’s why I missed the exciting basketball game. The Mets made a dramatic comeback just so they could move their underachieving butts within four games of the .500 mark. Elsewhere, the Clippers beat the Nuggets to take a 3-1 lead in that second round NBA Playoffs series. Also, the Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov scored a goal with nine seconds left in the game to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 win over the Islanders and a 2-0 series advantage.
The Mets are finally off tonight, but I’m working so I’ll probably just scoreboard-watch the Lakers vs. Rockets game.