Top 5 Games of Last Week (5/26/14 – 6/1/14)
This week was just so damn good, wasn’t it? Some people complain that the NBA and NHL playoffs drag on too long, but when you have weeks like this, I think it’s a definitive check in the pro column. If the NBA and NHL playoffs were already over, what would we be watching? NFL training camps? No thank you.
#5. Eastern Conf Finals, Game 5 – Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers
The Heat-Pacers was a better series than the Spurs-Thunder overall, and it wasn’t close, but this was probably the best game. LeBron was in foul trouble, Stephenson was blowing it left and right (get it?), and Paul George couldn’t miss in the fourth quarter. Try as they might, the Heat didn’t have an answer for George, and as a result could’t put away the Pacers, despite throwing everything they had at them. You knew LeBron would come back with a vengeance in Game 6, you knew the Heat would take it to another level at home, you knew the Pacers didn’t have a chance, but in Game 5 anyway, the Pacers didn’t care. They played with pride. This is your clear bang for your buck game of the week; Pacers fans: You lose faith in your team? The average ticket was just $128.31.
#4. Eastern Conf Finals, Game 6 – Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers
After a rocky Game 5, Lundqvist was perfect when he needed to be. The Rangers offense managed just one goal, but Lundqvist picked up the slack, stopping all 18 shots on goal and taking the Rangers to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1994. More than the game itself, this one’s on here because of what it symbolizes for the Rangers fan base. The Rangers weren’t expected to do much heading into the playoffs, and now they’re in the finals for the first time in two decades. Think Rangers fans cared? The average ticket cost was $593.19, making it the most expensive ticket on SeatGeek this week.
#3.Western Conf Finals, Game 5 – Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks
“Why won’t you die?” a friend shouted at the TV, doing his best Austin Powers impersonation, and very clearly distraught at the Blackhawks refusal to go quietly into the night. It was a reasonable question to ask. After going up 2-0 and then 3-1, the Blackhawks found themselves down 4-3 heading into the third period. A Kings comeback, which would’ve deflated most teams facing elimination, only served to motivate Chicago more, and they tied it up barely one minute into the third period. The two teams battled then battled through first one OT period, and then another, Chicago’s Handzus finally winning it in 2OT.
#2. Western Conf Finals, Game 6 – San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder
Though it’s rarely the case, the stat line actually tells the story of this game pretty well. Westbrook led the Thunder with 34-7-8-6, and Tim Duncan led the Spurs with – wait for it – 19-15-2-2. The Spurs won 112-107 in OT. What does that mean? That Westbrook and Durant, who added 31-14, had to do all the heavy lifting, and that Duncan received lots of help from his teammates and the Spurs’ bench. That’s the story of the series, really. The Thunder couldn’t overcome their bench, and the Spurs got help from theirs when they needed it most.
#1. Western Conf Finals, Game 7 – Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings
I know, I know: Isn’t regular OT a snoozefest when you compare it to double OT, which occurred in Game 5? No, it’s not. Not when the hype leading up to this Game 7 was enough to make any game short of spectacular seem underwhelming. Not when the loss was so crushing, so devastating that the Chicago Head Coach said, “I’ve lost some tough games but nothing like tonight.” This was one of those few, incomparable games that you never forget, that will surely replay every year during playoff time on the NHL Channel.