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There are two specific groups of people who were not at all pleased with the results of the NBA’s well intentioned, quarantine inspired game of H-O-R-S-E: Oklahoma hoops fans and ESPN executives.
I’d wager that the cross population of OKC Thunder fans and Oklahoma Sooners fans covers a number north of 90 percent of this state. So the vast majority of nearly 4 million people were rooting for either or both of Chris Paul and Trae Young to win their first round matchups.
The two newly beloved Oklahoma City point guards were the clear favorites to win the entire competition. Trae was Vegas’s top choice with +200 odds and CP3 was the close second with +285 odds. Makes sense, as Trae’s sharpshooting and range are Curryesque and CP3’s clutch shot making has been second to none all season.
And at different points in each matchup, both looked like they were going to prove Vegas right.
Trae jumped out to an H-O-R lead over Mr. Big Shot Chauncey Billups. But battling the Oklahoma wind, a bent rim, and a dumbfounding resistance to shooting long range 3’s proved too much to overcome when an old school baller like Billups started stroking.
I tweeted this moments before CP3’s matchup with the instantly likable Allie Quigley:
Every Thunder fan knows Chris Paul is gonna chill for the first 3 quarters, get down by 4 letters and then hit 5 clutch midrange jumpers in a row to win this thing.
And it came so close to coming true. In by far the most entertaining game of the night, Paul and Quigley matched tough shot for tough shot. The three time WNBA All Star raced off to an early lead before CP3 did the thing where he hits a bunch of clutch shots in closing time. But Quigley did what the likes of the Celtics and Nuggets could not do recently: stop Chris Paul from stealing a win in crunch time.
Not only were Paul and Young (now I wanna sing “Everytime You Go Away”; look it up, kids) the betting favorites, their star power loomed largest in this H-O-R-S-E field of competitors. The next closest on the star power needle-mover-meter was Paul Pierce, who got blanked by Zach Lavine.
The remaining contestants are Lavine, Quigley, Billups, and Mike Conley. That sounds more like a lineup on next season’s Dancing With The Stars than it does a star studded NBA event. I’d imagine it’s not exactly what ESPN had in mind. And it’s surely not what millions of Oklahomans and hundreds of Daily Thunder readers were hoping to see (in laggy blurriness) unfold.
I’m tempted to proclaim that ratings for the next two rounds are going to plummet like a sportswriter’s current job security.
But what else are we going to watch?
- I had no idea until tonight that my HD flat screen had a VHS video setting.
- Oddsmakers are unabashedly sexist, or more accurately believe that the American public is unabashedly sexist, as the two WNBA players Allie Quigley (+1100) and Tamika Catchings (+1600) were the distant bettor cellar dwellers.
- To be clear, we were all rooting for Tamika to beat Mike Conley and his completely unfair indoor court, right?
- Seriously, though. Conley being the only one playing in an indoor court is like having a football game where one team is playing on turf and the other team is playing in three feet of snow. It’s a huge advantage.
- Conley is also ambidextrous and somehow was allowed to shoot half of his shots with the “off hand.” What. Refs letting him get away with murder. Conley is the James Harden of H-O-R-S-E.
- I’m fully convinced that if the person reading this sentence right now can convert a layup, you could beat Paul Pierce in a game of H-O-R-S-E.
- That said, Lavine found a really cheap loophole to get out of the no dunking rule: he dunked it without touching the rim.
- Pierce had the best looking court, though, with the huge Celtics logo.
- The last time televised hoops was supposed to happen in Oklahoma, it was canceled right before tipoff. With Trae losing his nationally broadcasted matchup, we now have no idea when we will next see hoops in OKC.
- Trae Young gave his real phone number out and told fans they could text him.
- Would it be unprofessional for me to text Trae to ask him to get a guest on the Daily Thunder Podcast?
- At least CP3 and Quigley had some creative, fun shots. CP3’s leg lift spin around one hander was the best shot of the night, while Allie’s sit on the ground shot was the most classic HORSE shot of the competition.
- But how did nobody do an eyes closed shot or a granny shot?!
- Allie wins the “most normal person looking house” (ie: not a mansion) award.
- True reason why CP3 lost: he shot with a hat on his head. Rookie move.
- Chris Paul yelling, “Chris you suck!” was the highlight of the evening.
- Lowlight of the night: nobody called each other HO or a HOR. Did none of them ever go to middle school??