Staff Picks: Best Sports Moments

WM: Warriors Win Game 6

Down 3-2 in a best of seven series with the league’s hottest playoff team (explain to me, please, how the Thunder beat the Spurs), the Dubs were playing for their playoff lives on hostile ground against the game’s second best backcourt in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Golden State, however, has the game’s best backcourt in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Anyone who says they aren’t the best backcourt in the NBA didn’t watch Game 6.

The game was close all through the first half. The Thunder looked dominant on their home court, and the Warriors looked overmatched. Then, in the second half, Thompson hit a 26 foot, contested three and everything shifted. Suddenly, the Warriors were infallible.

In short, the Dubs drove OKC’s season into the sun and laughed while they did it.

WM: Mets Lose Game 5

In Game 5 of the 2015 World Series, the Mets went into the ninth with a 2-0 lead on the visiting Kansas City Royals. Before the ninth, Mets’ ace Matt Harvey pleaded with manager Terry Collins to let him stay in the game. Harvey had thrown 101 pitches, but had thrown beautifully all night. Collins gave him the ball. Harvey let the Royals back in the ballgame. The Mets lost the game.

It would have been a beautiful thing; Harvey winning the game and prolonging the series for New York by forcing Game 6 back in Kansas City. But then, baseball is full of “would have beens.” It would have been beautiful if Oriole manager Earl Weaver had won his last regular season game and completed the most impressive come from behind playoff run in the sport’s history. It would have been beautiful if old Bill Buckner had scooped that ground ball back in 1986 and handed Boston its first championship since 1918. None of that happened either, but here we are remembering it.

AS: Blair Walsh’s Missed Field Goal

The Seahawks needed three quarters to get warmed up on a frigid January day when they took on the Minnesota Vikings. After taking a late lead by a score of 10-9, Minnesota put a drive together and got into field goal range, effectively killing the clock in the process. Walsh lined up for the 27-yard field goal and the Seahawks’ fate was all but sealed. By some miracle, Walsh shanked the kick wide left and the Seahawks went on to win the game and advance to the divisional round of the post season.

AS: The 2016 Mariners Season…All of It

There are too many moments to pick from so far in this not-so-young-anymore Mariners’ season. Dae Ho-Lee’s walk off home run back in April, or Chris Iannetta’s walk off just a few weeks ago. Maybe Leonys Martin’s walk-off earlier this month? Ketel Marte has been a very pleasant surprise; and Robinson Cano is looking like the player Seattle paid $240 million for. The point is, this year’s Mariners team has been a very pleasant surprise, and they have set themselves up to be playing baseball in October for the first time since 2001—the longest drought in the MLB.

WG: Kobe Bryant’s Final Game

As someone who grew up watching Kobe Bryant and thinking of him as basketball incarnate, watching him score 60 points in his last game was magical. It meant nothing for the team, in a season in which they set a franchise record for losses. But, after three straight years of injuries and struggles, the future hall of famer was able to go out in style shooting the ball almost every time he touched it. He certainly left it all out on the court and left to a standing ovation.

WG: Brendan Westendorf’s Buzzer Beaters

While it wasn’t the best season for Seattle U basketball, it was highlighted by a couple of deep three pointer buzzer beaters by the junior transfer. It was a transition year for the Redhawks as they tried to move on the from the loss of key seniors. Westendorf’s maturity provided a strong consistent presence on the team and managed to help them steal a couple games. One of them was a deep three from the buzzer while the other was just beyond half court.

CL: Men’s Soccer’s Incredible Run

This past fall as the self-claimed beat writer for all things soccer at the Spectator, I had the pleasure of watching some remarkable moments. The men’s team ended the season at the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in what was the program’s best ever D1 finish to date. Throughout the year the Redhawks kept climbing national polls thanks to some stellar play, including a historic win on Sept. 24 against crosstown rival UW. Some 1800+ fans packed into Championship Field to see the 2-1 win, and it will be hard to forget the crowd erupting to David Olsen’s opening goal. The NCAA tournament win against UCLA on Nov. 22 also hosted a boisterous crowd in the same area, and Hamza Haddadi’s winner was a goal to go down in Seattle U soccer history. On top of those games Olsen’s acrobatic overhead goal against Bakersfield was an exquisite piece of skill, one that helped him on his way to being named 1st team All-American.

AJ may be reached at [email protected]