Los Angeles Lakers: Ryan Hollins
August, 13, 2011
By Pedro Moura
LOS ANGELES -- One thing is almost always true of the best, most memorable sporting events, regardless of the level of play or specific sport being played: Both teams truly believe they have the game won, even when they don’t.
That was the case at the first of two Drew League semifinal games Friday night in South L.A., where a team led by Pistons forward Austin Daye and Nuggets first-round selection Kenneth Faried gave up a 16-point fourth-quarter lead to Team C.O.A., featuring Clippers forward Craig Smith and Hornets guard Marcus Banks.
After allowing C.O.A. to make a dramatic late-game run that was boosted by a number of steals from the crafty Banks, Daye fought back and made an isolation 18-footer from the right corner to give his team, "Hank’s Blazers," a five-point lead with 1:01 to go. But Banks quickly went down the opposite end of the court and converted a layup to make it a 72-69 game, then stole the ball from Daye at the top of the key on the other end and made another layup to make it 72-71.
Then, with 1.9 seconds to play and the Blazers up two, 73-71, Banks went to the free-throw line and calmly made two free throws to send the game into overtime, the first such extra period of the 2011 Drew League playoffs at Colonel Leon H. Washington Park.
In the overtime, C.O.A. scored first, but the teams traded baskets. And, when Banks called a timeout with the ball in his team’s possession with the score tied 77-77 and 7.7 seconds left, he danced happily to the music blasting out of the speakers as he walked off the court and into his team’s huddle.
He didn’t score. The game went into double overtime.
In the second extra period, the Blazers made four straight free throws to take an 81-77 lead and Faried got the game-clinching rebound of a Daye missed free throw on the back end of a big one-and-one as the Blazers won, 86-79, to clinch a spot in Saturday’s championship game.
“We did a good job holding them off the whole game and making good runs, but at the end we kind of unraveled a little bit,” Daye said afterward. “I hit that shot with like a minute left [in regulation] and I thought the game was over, but they got a couple steals and we turned the ball over a couple times, so they got back in the game.
“In the end, we did a good job of holding our composure.”