The Warriors Lived Out Every North Carolina Loss in Game 3
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Referees man. The 2014-15 season was a frustrating campaign for North Carolina’s men’s basketball team. It’s not that the team was bad, but it lost games in the most frustrating way imaginable.
You know the story by now. The Tar Heels play a competitive first half, fall behind in the second half, look completely dead in the water, and with about one or two minutes left, it happens. A 3-pointer falls in. The opposing offense turns it over or rushes a quick shot. Roy Williams has four timeouts left. But it was all for naught, and the Tar Heels fall just short.
I coined this the “False Hope Run” earlier this year, and the Tar Heels did it at least four times last year. There was the home game against Virginia in which the Heels looked on the verge of being blown out by as many as 18 points before a late run made it a three possession game in the final minute. It happened in the Tar Heels’ March Madness loss to Wisconsin, when Marcus Paige hit two 3-pointers in the final two minutes to cut a five point deficit to just one. It happened in the ACC Championship loss to Notre Dame, when the Tar Heels cut a 14-point deficit to 6 with 37 seconds left, before ultimately running out of gas.
You get the idea. (Sidenote: Refereeing has to improve.)
Tuesday’s Warriors-Cavaliers game struck similarities to many North Carolina losses by following the 5 easy steps of the False Hope Run:
- The large deficit. The Warriors trailed by 17 entering the 4th quarter after being outscored 28-18 in the 3rd. This is a key part of the patented False Hope Run: A deficit just large enough to seem insurmountable, but can swing with a few good offensive possessions and stops.
- The late pull-away. After closing the gap to just one point with just under three minutes to play, the Cavaliers went on a 6-0 run to take an 87-80 lead with 1:44 left. The game appeared to be over, until…
- Second-half *insert point guard’s name*. On Twitter, I said Steph Curry was doing his best Marcus Paige impression, and I meant no disrespect. It’s not that Steph was “playing up” to Paige’s level; instead, he was having a Paige-like game. After scoring just 3 points in the first half, Curry put together 24 points in the second half, including 12 points in the final 3 minutes (all 3-pointers). It’s great to see him get hot, but if you’re a fan, you’re destroying yourself with the “Where was that earlier?” question.
- The “Oh my God we can actually do this” glimmer of hope. 18 seconds left. Steph Curry drains yet another 3-pointer, and the Warriors are only down by three. Then, it appeared that Matthew Dellavedova had stepped out of bounds with the ball… Until officials (correctly) overturned the call and gave possession back to Cleveland. It resulted in failure, but for those two minutes of official review, you believed this could happen.
- Asking yourself why you got your hopes up to begin with. It’s exhilarating while it lasts, but the False Hope Run is all for naught. It makes you feel somewhat better about how the team performed in the loss, but it’s much easier on the heart to just take that 17-point #beatemdown.
Does this sound familiar? If you followed Carolina basketball this season, it should. Let’s just hope it didn’t trigger any memories of tweeting “MARCUS TAKE THE WHEEL” followed by a bunch of frowny emojis. Those are even worse in hindsight.
Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images, Fansided/BlueManHoop