NBA Playoffs 2013: Nine Lines for Number Nine: A Western Conference Finals Poem.

USA TODAY Sports

A guest post from Michael Gossett to commemorate The Shirt Toss.

I saw it live, but I must have watched the YouTube clip of Derek Fisher launching that three, nearly coming down on—inexplicably—someone's shooting shirt, half-a-dozen more times before I felt my blood return to something approximating room temperature. Certainly I'm not alone in this camp: maybe it has to do with my never being comfortable surrendering four easy points to a team with Kevin Durant on the floor, not even with an eleven-point lead on said team, not even with said game having ended days ago.

Leave it to Tony Allen to bring out the worst in me like that.

But I'm over it now (I periodically have to remind myself of this: "I'm over it...") and can feel myself cozying up to the Grindfather again, finding in his shirt-cannon firing trick something absurdly iconic and, when I overanalyze it, perhaps even—dare I say?—prophetic (stick with me). The Grizzlies have already exceeded our hopes and expectations of them, and—yes—we ought to take the Playoffs one series at a time, but we'd be kidding ourselves if a small part of us weren't already thinking ahead… Certainly I'm not alone in this camp either, right?

A poem for the occasion:

Nine Lines for Number Nine

—a terza rima for Tony Allen and the WCF-bound Grizzlies—

We couldn't—then—appreciate the towel,
the shirt that stopped the game, putting the last
guy on the court you'd want to the line, that foul

that might have given them a fighting chance...
But in replays it falls in the easy way
Finals confetti falls, and, that game now passed,

now that we know our good old boy T.A.
didn't blow it: could that shirt suggest—now—
that more confetti's a few good games away?

Michael Gossett tweets in iambic penSLAMeter at: @michaeljgossett

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