Posts Tagged ‘top 10 games’

Cracking the NCAA Vault: Top 10 Analogues

I recently had a conversation with a friend (who may or may not be a blog colleague), and he mentioned how much he appreciated “If you liked…” recommendations when it comes to albums. This got me thinking. I’ve already run down the Top 10 College Basketball Games of the Aughts, and I didn’t want to repeat myself in talking about them again. So why not use that list as a springboard for this one—ten games that are like the Top 10 but not quite the Top 10.

And if you like this list, we recommend reading the rest of the College Basketball Preview Palooza.

10. If you liked Duke’s Miracle Minute at Maryland, we recommend…Indiana vs. Duke, 2002 Regional Semifinal

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Aught Lang Syne: Top 10 Games — NFL

Opposite the NBA and MLB, the NFL had an amazing decade. Whereas those sports combined to produce three Game 7s in 20 championship series, the NFL saw five Super Bowls come down to the final two minutes. It avoided major scandals while providing us with a likable upstart turned detestable villain, one of the best rivalries the sport has ever seen, featuring two historically transcendent players at the game’s most important position. Oh, and it cleaned up its logo.

It might even be the Golden Age of the NFL.

As for my list, you’ll notice that the common theme uniting all 10 games is fourth-quarter drama. And not like, one-team-drives-for-one-late-TD-to-win drama, but back-and-forth-for-all-15-minutes-with-multiple-scores drama. And even having that high standard and far fewer games to choose from than in the other sports, I had to make some tough cuts. The final ones included the Steelers’ comeback win over the Browns on Wild Card Weekend in 2002 (the same day as a game that made our countdown), the Steelers’ upset of the Colts in the 2005 Divisional Playoffs, and the Colts’ incredible fourth-quarter comeback on Monday Night against the Buccaneers in 2003.

On the other end of the spectrum, the worst game of the decade was Super Bowl XXXVII, the Buccaneers’ 48-21 romp over the Raiders. If you don’t know why, you’re a Bucs’ fan.

10. 2000 Regular Season: New York Jets 40, Miami Dolphins 37 (OT)

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Aught Lang Syne: Top 10 Games — NBA

I’ll start with some brutal honesty: This was not a good decade for the NBA. It saw Michael Jordan in a Wizards uniform, severe conference imbalance, the collapse of the Knicks as a viable franchise, and more than its share of forgettable championships.

But this isn’t the time to dwell on that; this is the time to remember the best that the NBA had to offer in the aughts. The following are what I consider the 10 best games the NBA gave us this decade, with the caveat that I am a Nets fan, and so the team that has this season returned to its long-held status as the Eastern Conference’s answer to the Clippers is perhaps overrepresented. Before we get to the top 10–you want a criteria? Well, overtime helps, folks–the only Finals game to garner serious consideration was Game 5 of the 2005 Finals between San Antonio and Detroit, and the worst series of the decade was the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals, in which the Pistons and Pacers played six games without either team surpassing 85 points.

10. Game 3 of the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals: Boston Celtics 94, New Jersey Nets 90

A personal recollection: I was over the house of a Celtics fan. At halftime, with New Jersey up by 20, he turned the TV off and demanded we do something else. After I dominated him (NJ-Boston style) in basketball in the street, we went back inside to check the score. It was one of those TVs where you hear the sound well before the picture comes back, and I was immediately struck by how loud it was in Boston. Why is it this loud? Aren’t we killing them? Boston was already back within a half-dozen, and Byron Scott was in the midst of one of the worst coaching jobs ever with his inexperienced team (seriously, Scott pulled the whole “I’m gonna call timeout and stay outside of the huddle while you guys realize what you’re doing wrong” in A PLAYOFF GAME! WITH HIS TEAM COLLAPSING!) A Paul Pierce Parade to the free-throw line helped the Celtics outscore New Jersey 41-16 for the largest fourth-quarter comeback in NBA playoff history and a 2-1 series lead. My Nets would get the last laugh, winning the next three to advance to the Finals.

Note: This was also the game that propelled Mike Breen to NBA announcing stardom.

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