Windmill and Tomahawk: Dominique Wilkins Chapter 9 – NBA Sports

Excerpt from Windmill and Tomahawk: Dominique Wilkins Chapter 9 Jon finkel

In great paraphrase Dock brownThe NBA superstar signature game is like lightning. I don’t know when and where to attack.And but Dominique Wilkins When the postseason unfolded in 1988, he had many signature achievements (dunk titles, scoring titles, all-star games, all-NBA selections, etc.). Transcendental NBA players tend to have.

These performances will be more memorable the higher your game stakes. For example, the performance of Monster Game 5 in the first round of the playoffs is more impressive than the performance of Monster Game 1 in the first round. This means that each year in the NBA Playoffs, there are only three opportunities for both teams to be unable to raise their stakes in the series.

Round 7 of the semi-finals of the conference.

Round 7 of the conference finals.

Round 7 of the NBA Finals.

Getting a chance to play in any of these three situations is like going through a trial to win the NBA Playoffs superstar black belt (1st, 2nd, 3rd). There are few NBA 3rd black belts. Oh, and there’s another factor that can increase or decrease the potential for history-making performance: Are you facing a good enemy in your seventh round?

Clutching Round 7 against a decent team with a single All-Star is one thing. Except for having Clutch Game 7 against a squad that bursts in the Hall of Fame in the midst of a dynasty. It is in this latter scenario that our brave hero Dominique Wilkins found himself in the 1988 postseason.

After the 50-win season of 1986, the Hawks lost to the Celtics in five conference semifinal games. The following year, Dominique led Atlanta to a franchise record of 57 wins, but the team lost to the conference semi-finals again in five games. This time I lost to the Pistons. In 1988, the Hawks scored 50 wins for the third consecutive year, defeating Bucks in the first round (Dominique averaged 31 games per game), and then played against Boston again to achieve his third straight victory.

The Celtics were the number one seed overall in the east.

The Celtics have won seven more regular season games than Atlanta.

The Celtics were very popular.

They had Larry Bird (Inducted into the Hall of Fame), Kevin McHale (Inducted into the Hall of Fame), Robert Parish (Inducted into the Hall of Fame), Dennis Johnson (Inducted into the Hall of Fame), Danny Ainge (All-star), and the young stud of the name Reggie Lewis On the bench. The same core group won the NBA Championship in ’81, ’84, and ’86, lost to the Lakers in the ’87 final, and re-entered the final in ’88.

As for the Hawks, they had Dominique and some great players Kevin Willis (One all-star nod), Dock Rivers (One all-star nod), and Spud WebbBut, to put it mildly, they weren’t in the same class as the Celtics.

Not surprisingly, the Hawks lost Game 1 at Boston Garden 110-101. Then they lost Game 2 in Garden 108-97.

This wasn’t the position Hawks wanted. The Celtics fell 0-2, so there were few options. Split at home (hopefully). This means eliminating at least one Game 5 in Boston. Or (worst scenario) swept.

Hawks, Dylan Thomas The poem advised, I didn’t go calmly to that good night. They earned minced meat in battle in Game 3, 110-92, 25 points from Dominique and 13 assists from Spud Webb. Faced with an angry Larry Bird (dropping 30) in Game 4 the next night, Dominique raised 40 spots, leading the Hawks to victory and drawing the series 2-2.

Both teams then moved 1,000 miles north to Boston for Game 5. From the beginning, you can see that “Chief” Robert Parish was angry (I don’t want to offend him). He scored 24 points and 13 rebounds. Bird was 22, McHale was 19, and Dennis Johnson was 20. The Celtics put the full weight of home-court advantage in Atlanta, leading 77-69 after three-quarters.

To make matters worse for the Hawks, Wilkins had a terrifying night. He got off the floor 5 to 19 and was completely out of sync and dragging the team down.A coach who senses a turning point Mike Fratello I sat down in Wilkins and gave him time to refocus.

“I missed the first few shots, but I still felt pretty good,” Wilkins said after the match. “But I missed the layup after the layup after the jump shot.”

Wilkins sat and waited for most of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter. And waited. And waited a little longer. His teammates were playing hard without him, hanging slowly shaving Boston’s leads.

But they were tired. Both Webb and Rivers were chasing Ainge and Dennis Johnson all night. Fratello, who had been raising Nike on the bench all the time“Dominique, you need to finish the game. Take a break. We need you, big man” – I decided to be radical.

Atlanta Hawks forward, Dominique Wilkins dunk shoot, Boston Celtics forward, Larry Bird (left) watch. (AP photo)

He returned to the game with Dominique as a guard as 10:41 remained in the game and the Hawks went down eight.

“You probably didn’t do that from the beginning of the season,” Wilkins said. “We may actually do that. Someone got injured and I move on to security.”

It was a bold and unique strategy that quickly paid off. He slowed down the DJ. He launched an attack and dropped a dime like a point guard. The first deficit was 6. Then it was 3. Then they pulled forward.

“Neek was hitting a free throw. He hit three points. He distributed. It was the awakening of the hoop. Kevin Willis scored 27 points and 14 boards. Hawks. Beat Boston 43-27 in the fourth quarter, and Dominique finished 25 points from a tough the garden-Steal game 5.

I have written Ian Thomsen of Boston Globe, “… You might have seen the flowering of a career. Dominique Wilkins no longer forces talent on a crazy stir drive, instead putting a fourth-quarter deficit in the history of his city. Helped more baskets (3) than score (2) while converting to what could be the biggest win in 112-104, beyond the Celtics. “

“There is only one match left,” Wilkins said in the locker room. “I can’t celebrate yet.”

Forget the proverbial table spinning-they were placed at zero G, spun, flipped, and slammed upside down on the ground. Not only was the Hawks not dead after he fell 0-2, he was back in the omni. Up 3-2 and 3 games in a row.

It was this.

This was the opportunity Hawks had been waiting for.

They had momentum. They had a home coat. They had’Nike. All they had to do was win at home, and they moved on to the Eastern Conference Finals.

But the Celtics were veterinarians who experienced the war. They were injured, had combat tests, and were accustomed to fighting with their backs against the wall.

Are you on the road? who cares?

3 games in a row in 7 game series? Anything is fine.

All this says that Game 6 was a real pain for the Hawks.

Despite the big performances by Dominique Wilkins (35 points, 10 rebounds) and Dock Rivers (32 points on 10 of 16 shots), the rest of the starter, Kevin Willis, Tree Rollins, When Randy Wittman— Only 12 points in total. Cliff Levingston, Spud Webb, and Antoine Carr There were only 13 people from the bench. On paper, it was a disaster.

Still, the game was close.

Very close.

in fact, It was there. The game was known to the Hawks throughout the fourth quarter. The situation would have been different if only a few bouncing balls … a few missed buckets … a few rim rattles were on their way.

The last few seconds of the game were a microcosm of the Hawks night. Levingston went down 102-100 in the last few seconds and got off a left-handed layup that could tie the game. As I said It was there.

Dominique was devastated, but he knew they needed to put a disappointment behind them as soon as possible.

“Sure, this is a disappointment,” he said. “But we’re back. Remember what we did before. It’s okay to play with the same strength.”

His counterpart of the Celtics, Larry Bird, was licking his chop. Speaking shit and never missing a chance to get into the other person’s head, Larry Legend decided to put it thick. He didn’t worry about the material on the bulletin board, he especially wanted the Hawks to know that they had blown it away.

“They had a chance,” Bird said. “They had a big chance. They made all the fans crazy about it. They were really confident, and we were sitting with lots of anti-aircraft guns. Now they Let us get it back. I think we’re going to play like this again, we’re the only ones at home. They’d better forget it. Has no chance. I think Sunday will be a big win for the Celtics. “

And that’s how Larry defeats Smakes. He had momentum and history. The Celtics never lost the series when they led 2-0 (34-0), and the Hawks never won the series after dropping 0-2 (0-10). As a franchise, the Boston Celtics lost 16-19 in Game 7 and only twice on the home floor. Bird did not believe they were about to face their third defeat.

Buy John Finkel’s new digital biography to read about Game 7’s epic bird vs. Dominique duel “Windmill and Tomahawk: Dominique Wilkins’s Nine Chapters”.

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Jon Finkel’s book Spike Lee When Kevin Durant To Jeff Van Gundy When Mark Cuban.. His latest book is 1996: Biography and Hoop Robbery: Seattle, Sonics and How The Stolen Team’s Legacy has risen to the NBA’s Secret Empire. You can follow him on Twitter...

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Windmill and Tomahawk: Dominique Wilkins Chapter 9 Windmill and Tomahawk: Dominique Wilkins Chapter 9

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