What makes for an entertaining basketball game?

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As much as I have enjoyed watching the NBA the last decade, I don’t think I have seen a game more exciting than Game 6 of the 2020 Eastern Conference second round series between the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors.

Everything was set up for it to be a great affair; it felt a duel befitting of an NBA finals. In one sense, it was a duel between two unanimous top five NBA coaches in Brad Stevens and the recently crowned Coach of the Year in Nick Nurse. On paper, the two teams seemed evenly matched and seemed like two three-headed titans going to war. You have budding superstars in Tatum and Brown with an ever even-keeled Kemba Walker against Mr. Raptor himself Lowry, cult hero Van Vleet, and their own budding superstar in Siakam. What makes it more tantalizing is that both teams are in an enviable position of having multiple playmakers coming of the bench. It is the kind of series that could go either way, and that has been felt in each and every game.

The game itself was a back-and-forth affair. Neither team lead by double digits for long, it was always a one, two, or three possession ball-game through all four quarters and the two overtimes. For a neutral, I was just grinning with glee at the shot-making in the fourth quarter and overtimes especially. It wasn’t that the defense let up for either team, there were sequences where big-shot was made after big-shot. If anything was must-see TV, this was it. I don’t think there could’ve been a better game. It was an unbelievable demonstration of shot-making in the clutch on the biggest of stages. The Raptors fighting for their hopes of repeating as Champions minus Kawhi and the Celtics as hungry as ever.

Throughout the game, players were wearing their heart of their sleeves and it showed. This especially shone through with Kyle Lowry, almost single-handedly willing his team to victory. It was a remarkable demonstration of NBA basketball. I realise that I must sound like a walking billboard for the NBA, but this game encapsulates why we watch sports in the first place.

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