About Last Night: Instant Classic

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

In case you were busy waiting up for the Premier League fixture list to be revealed (and who wasn’t?) here’s what you missed in sports on Tuesday:

  • In an electric back-and-forth affair that will surely be remembered as an all-time classic, the Miami Heat stormed back from a late deficit to stave off elimination in the NBA Finals, forcing a Game 7 with a 103-100 overtime win over the San Antonio Spurs. LeBron James overcame a slow start and a number of late mistakes to lead the comeback with a triple-double, and Ray Allen’s 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds remaining in regulation provided an iconic image for what is becoming an era-defining Finals. But I know why you all come to About Last Night, and it’s not for the sort of game recap you can get anywhere else. It’s for the big-time predictions. The sort of predictions that other people just won’t make because they are too afraid. So here goes, ALN Game 7 prediction time: Game 7 will take place at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. Yeah, I said it. Both the Spurs and Heat will play in the game, which will be sanctioned by the rules of the NBA. You can take that to the bank, despite what the lamestream media would have you believe. The game they play will therefore be, wait for it, basketball. Nobody else will dare say it, so you have to hear it from me. The game will be televised on your local ABC affiliate. What? WHAT? I know. But it’s going to happen. If you watch the game, you will see ads for White House Down starring Channing Tatum, and you will think to yourself, “Huh, I liked Independence Day, but should they really say, ‘From the director of 2012?'” OHHHHH NO I DIDN’T. NO I DID NOT. But I did. Also, the Heat will win 132-65 when Gregg Popovich decides to rest his starters in preparation for the 2013-14 preseason opener against the Seattle Grizzles, leaving Tracy McGrady to play 48 minutes.
  • The U.S. men’s national team is on the verge of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup after Jozy Altidore fired them to a 1-0 qualifying win over Honduras. America currently sits two points clear at the top of the so-called Hexagonal that determines which three of the final six North American teams in contention qualify for automatic bids to the World Cup. “We just have to keep the hexagon on its current side and we will be in great shape,” explained U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann after the match. “Once it gets momentum and starts rolling off of its point, everything can go into disarray.” When asked if he was speaking metaphorically, Klinsmann responded, “No, momentum is a very real thing with shapes, and even flat-sided polygons can roll like circles if put on a steep enough hill.”
  • The New York Mets showed off their quality young pitching as they won both games of a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves behind quality starts from Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson was not all smiles after the wins, however, saying, “I keep getting calls at all hours of the night saying, ‘Steve, what package of vets can I give you for Wheeler, I know you want to win now,’ or, ‘Jim, your brother Dan told me to call you up and offer you some proven talent for Harvey,’ or, ‘Omar, come on, give me your good young players, you’re Omar Minaya and that’s what you do,’ and I have to explain to Billy and Andrew and Jon down in Texas that I’m not any of those people, and stop fucking calling me, because I can’t tell if you’re kidding or if you think I’m dumb, or if you’re insomniacs.”
  • Justin Verlander gave up two home runs as his Detroit Tigers fell to the Baltimore Orioles, 5-2. Verlander, who has been unspectacular by his standards this year, said after the game, “This season has been tough so far. Toughest year of my life since the sixth grade when Kent Bigsby realized that he could call me Justin Verloser, and then he told Kelly Armstrong that I was a real Verloser, and I cried. But I showed him when I bought the Napa Auto Parts store he was managing a couple years ago and laid him off. Did it myself and everything. Really got my hands dirty with that one. Oh how he wailed about how his family needed his income and he was damn near underwater on his mortgage already. Technically I fired him with cause, too: no severance, no unemployment. Man did that feel good. I had been carrying around that Verloser thing for far too long.”
  • Cliff Lee threw eight strong innings as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the slumping Washington Nationals, 4-2, at Citizens Bank Park. Lee’s stellar start continues his rebound from an off year, one in which he led the National League in xFIP but posted a poor win-loss record because of factors outside of his control, by posting a slightly worse xFIP but getting more run support and better defense from his teammates.
  • The New York Yankees are facing more injury problems as Mark Teixeira landed back on the DL while Kevin Youkilis has been sidelined for up to three months after undergoing back surgery. “Goddamn Kevin Puke-ilis,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman slurred to an empty bathroom from inside a locked stall deep in the bowels of Yankee Stadium. “And Mark Tei-puke-a. I’m still working on that one. So shut up, you bunch of pukes.” Cashman then rested his head on the toilet seat and sighed. “Eh, there’s nobody here. Just ol’ Brian Cash-puke. Puke-man. Ol’ Puke-an Puke-puke. I’m so very alone.”
  • In an interleague battle of teams with losing records, the Houston Astros blew out the Milwaukee Brewers, 10-1, behind Matt Dominguez’s five-RBI night. The game was notable mostly for its awkwardness, as the Astros, the newest member of the American League, kept trying to make small talk with the Brewers, who were the last team to leave the American League. Though Houston tried to keep things civil, the Brewers kept using an antagonistic tone as they explained how much happier they were without the American League and its two-timing designated hitter rule, but that it seemed a good match for Houston. By the end of the evening the conversation had ceased altogether, and the two teams played out the final innings of the game in silence, occasionally stopping to exchange withering glances at one another.
  • Top-seeded North Carolina eliminated LSU from the College World Series with a 4-2 win behind seven strong innings from freshman pitcher Trent Thornton. The Tar Heels now face a rematch against a confident NC State Wolfpack, who beat them in the first game of the series. “You know how when your little brother punches you in the jaw and you decide you’re going to ruin his life like Justin Verlander at a Napa Auto Parts?,” said Tar Heels coach Mike Fox before he picked up a metal bat and took a few menacing practice swings.

Filed Under: About Last Night, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Cliff Lee, Houston Astros, Kevin Youkilis, LSU, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Brewers, NBA Finals, New York Yankees, North Carolina, Philadelphia Phillies, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Nationals

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Spike Friedman is a contributing writer for Grantland and makes theater with the Satori Group in Seattle, Washington.

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