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Q&A: The Most Interesting Game Apricot Has Covered
Behind the scenes of a historic, wild, sublime, wacky game
This is a longer version of an answer from the Feb 4 2020 Reddit Ask Me Anything.
Manteca2: What were some of the most entertaining moments to cover from the past 4/5 years?
My personal most interesting cover was the 2018 NBA Finals. And the most interesting part was Game 1. I’ve never gotten to write about my thoughts behind the scenes, because it didn’t fit into instant clickbait for Vox, and then afterwards, everyone moved on to the next big thing.
Game 1 was so packed with reporters that SB Nation didn’t get enough seats, so I volunteered to give up mine to Seerat Sohi and Paul Flannery. So I ended up watching the game at a table full of reporters in the bowels of Oracle, on a screen that was an arena Jumbotron feed. I believe someone pulled up sound from the radio feed or the TV feed? That itself was pretty fun because there were some well-known reporters there (who I won’t name in case it looks bad that they got stuck in the media room with nobodies like me) and we chatted occasionally as the game went on.
And the game was FANTASTIC. So much drama.
It began with Klay going down with what looked like a season-ending sprain, and all the reporters buzzing around interrogating their home bases or bugging their inside contacts, trying to figure out how severe it was and how many games Klay would miss, and then out of nowhere, Klay’s surprising return.
LeBron having perhaps his best playoff game ever (at least in regulation).
Steph bombing in a near-logo buzzer beater 3 (that ultimately allowed GSW to take the game to OT!!).
And it kept going all the way to the ending. When George Hill got those free throws, we assumed the game was over. He hits the first one to tie and then...
Now you have to remember that I’m in the bowels with the arena feed. So before Hill starts the 2nd free throw, the whole screen switches to MAKE SOME NOISE in huge letters. Then the audio gets all chaotic, a miss? What? A rebound? Who? Then the video feed comes back and JR Smith has the ball? And then time runs out? What the heck just happened? Is the game over? Did the Cavs win? And the arena feed has no replays!
The whole room of reporters howls with disbelief and scrambles to find anyone who will tell us what just happened. I myself went on Twitter to find anyone who posted a clip from the TV feed.
And it kept going. There was GSW amazingly locking down LeBron after he tried to iso Steph every play. Here is the video I made about that wild overtime:
And it kept going. Even when the game was out of reach, there was LeBron trash talking Steph and Klay chirping back. There was Tristan starting a fight.
And it kept going. I got to be in the GSW locker right after. I thought the mood would be relieved and exhilarated that they got away with that game. NO. I innocently tried to ask Klay about the Rockets series. He had the energy of a fuming caged tiger. He answered very distractedly, very angrily... it was clear he was still furious about how the OT ended with the fights and feuds.
And it kept going! In the post game interviews, some old reporter kept badgering LeBron to admit that JR Smith had screwed up and forgot the score, and LeBron dodged, and then this guy just kept going! He asked about FOUR TIMES IN A ROW. Then LeBron got up, pissed — which I completely understand — and he left, but the whole tough guy flex move was undercut because LBJ was wearing these super chic shorts and carried a dainty bag which he had to reach over to get.
AND IT KEPT GOING like a grenade... a week later we found out that while we were waiting extra long for LeBron to come for the post game, he was actually smashing a whiteboard and breaking his hand for no good reason and basically throwing away any chance that the Cavs would come back.
So, that’s the game I remember most.
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