Hope Asia is finding you well. Hope you're finding Asia well too, actually. I guess being half a world away saved you from the crime and punishment which was Game 4. But while putting the photos together, I got to thinking… Ya know that saying about winning the battle but losing the war? Well, the Nets do. They know about triple overtime too. Let's pull a Blake Griffin and waaay-back it to 2004 for more on that. Jason Kidd playing on one leg. Kenyon Martin and Kerry Kittles on bad wheels as well. And on a more serious note, Alonzo Mourning literally fighting for his life. Doncha hate it when people say "literally" when they actually mean "figuratively?" Yeah, me too but for Zo, this was actually the case. Forced out of commission after just a dozen games, only a kidney transplant saved him. Not sure how strong your memory rolls but the entire 2004 season was filled with Dostoyevsky levels of drama. There was fighting in practice, an ownership change, a coaching change, an announced relocation to Brooklyn, and minus Richard Jefferson, the entire team was fading.
Who knows, maybe with some less drama and better health the 2004 Nets sweep right past the 2004 Pistons. Instead, the clubs exchanged easy home wins and it wasn't until Game 5 that things got real. Remember the blown lead at the end of that one? Remember the Lawrence Frank's brain-fart and Chauncey Billups' prayer extending things into overtime? Then a second. Then a third. Finally Veal (gadzooks, how did White Mamba last in the league for so long?) won it but afterwards our guys had nothing left. The battle was won, the war not so much.
I'm not saying the same will happen to the Bulls. I'm not sending you any false hope. But think about it. Chicago has already suffered through their share of injuries. Any locker room with Nate Robinson in it must come with some drama. Maybe they won't ever relocate but they kinda should. I mean what other place on earth promotes itself as a second city? Whatever, their team is banged up, they barely showed up for the final eight minutes of Game 5, and the Brooklyn Brigade is already believing. Thanks yet again to Bobby (busy chilling with the Prez down at 1600) and his vast generosity, the fools were back at it on Monday night. Unfortunately, we were surrounded by Bulls fans. But that's okay too. It only makes sense for Chicagoans to move to Brooklyn and not the other way around. Besides, they knew to stay quiet. Not because we're all big-n-bad but because with an entire season on the line, we unleashed the secret weapon.
I'm not referring to Net Income although he was back too. Instead, I mean the newest addition to the Brooklyn Brigade. Instead, I mean the one, the only, the incomparable, inimitable, iconic Irina! In a world shamefully devoid of gorgeous front office execs hanging with regular fans, Irina set out to right a wrong. Her mere presence was all the luck we needed. Except for a few runs here and there the Nets pretty much cruised. A final 25-7 barrage closed things in style. It was an almost perfect night. I say "almost" because you know I have JohnFromLongIsland's back. You also know I've always been pulling for him to finally meet the crush of his life. Sadly, the big guy couldn't make it. KingofDenial did. Like a lost sailor, a lone brigade member out in the rough open seas, KoD could not resist the siren's song. After the game and with tiny little hearts dancing over his Nets cap, he climbed over a few dejected Bulls fans to get closer to the beautiful Russian. He then sidestepped N1k. He sidestepped MetsJetsNets and TwigHill too. He even sidestepped NI before bolting past me, acting as JLI's (as well as reason's) last line of defense. Of course there is no reason in matters of amore. KoD's persistence paid off while stealing the kiss JLI has waited a lifetime for. What can I say, Mediterraneans are just crafty like that.
With a twinkle in his eye and a right cheek he has sworn to never again wash, the night was more than perfect for the tambourine man. He led us back to the 4th Avenue Pub for our usual fill of cheap beer and free popcorn. A light drizzle and memories of Trippy's trip kept us indoors where we met up with other Nets fans and at least two Bulls supporters who are now only a few losses away from converting. I'm believing, how about you?!? Wishing you the best while spreading the Nets word to your corner of the world!
PS: OctoberGr8ness couldn't make it either. But with a single e-mail to Bobby and the rest of us he did start the Tug McGraw rally cry which got the entire Brigade believing.
PPS: The Triplets did make it and brought the coolest sign of the night.
PPPS: Oh and I'm saving the best for last. In honor of Jason Collins' courage I'm adding 35 photos. I'm glad Set Shot Willy didn't wear 98 for us or this album would never end. Also glad to see the spirit of inclusion Twin has been given by Nets fans and sports fans everywhere.