BARRY FARMS –- On TV, the NBA Finals exhibits a great atmosphere; the two best teams, best players, battling it out to be crowned the best team in the world.
The Goodman League Finals should be on TV because game 1 had a crazy atmosphere inside the gates.
Since early June, I've been traveling from Baltimore to Barry Farms to cover some of the best hoopers in the DMV area, playing in the best Summer League in the country, and after game1, I realized that this is deeper than basketball.
Unlike the regular NBA Finals, where each team get an opportunity to play on their home court, Team Madness will have to win 2 games against the BF Crazies, on what is essentially the Crazies' home court.
Madness didn't let the raucous crowd effect them, grinding out game 1 with a 99-93 victory.
The BF Crazies in the stands came ready to create a crazy atmosphere, heckling Madness early during the warm-ups. If the Cameron Indoor Stadium has the best fans in College Basketball, Inside the Gates has the best fans in Summer League Basketball but Madness didn't waste time silencing the Crazies, going up 14-6 in the first 3 ½ minutes.
The Crazies – that were on the court – would close the gap, using a 5-0 run to cut the deficit to three.
Then Madness turned it up again.
Madness went on a 23-7 run, building a 20-point lead in the first half with 9 minutes remaining. Madness put heavy pressure on the Crazies, forcing turnover after turnover, turning them into transition points. On one possession, Chris Howard was pressing Lou on the sideline, shouting out “Oh Yea! He don't want the rock!!”. Next thing you know, the ball was going the other way.
I began to get worried that the opening game of the Finals, was going to be a blowout; but then the Crazies made a great run that had the BF Colosseum going crazy.
Josh Selby led the Crazies on 33-21 run for the remainder of the half, cutting Madness lead to as low as 8-points before the half ended. Selby scored 23 points in the first half, knocking day some smooth pull-up jumpers.
Selby is playing in his second straight Goodman Finals, winning Finals MVP, hooping with All-Daz. He finished with 31 points
Team Madness continued to stay poised for the entire game, never releasing the lead. For this to be the first time Madness has ever been in the Goodman Finals, head coach Larry Madness handled the situation well, never allowing the Crazies to take control of the game.
The big 3 of Spongebob, Chris Howard, and Tay, combined for 53 points, while Wayne played the “wild card” with a game high 28 points, also controlling the boards. Opy completed the 5 for Madness, providing some clean up work inside the paint.
You could make an argument that Wayne was the best player on the court tonight, mainly because he controlled the paint, on both ends. The 6'7 forward was previously apart of The ShowStoppers but he didn’t play one game in the playoffs, reason why he was able to play with Team Madness.
Malcom and Gary for the BF Crazies did their thing in the backcourt combining for 21 points, both playing a big role in the Crazies 14-3 run to tie the ball game at 78 .At the 9 minute mark. Gary Jr. scored the tying bucket, going coast-to-coast to the rack, finishing with a tough layup right in front the BF Crazies, that made them erupt, also a native of The Farms.
The game had high emotions from warm-ups to the post game, reason why I said it was deeper than basketball. This game mattered to everyone in the venue, including the players.
While other Summer Leagues use 1 game to determine a champion, the Goodman League gives you a best of three series – another reason why Commissioner Miles says this is the best summer league in the country.
With all three games being on consecutive days, I'm curious to see if Team Madness will show fatigue because all season long, they have played with 5 players, mainly Chris, Sponge, and Tay. Tonight, I think Madness exerted a lot of energy not only winning the game, but holding the lead also.
Also, I'm, curious to see how Selby will return after a slow second half, only scoring 2 points in the first 15 minutes in the half.
The Crazies need Selby to score and be that “wild-card” in order to win game 2. Madness didn't make it easy for Selby, hitting him with double teams and traps, plus some fouling. It will be interesting to see how hard the Crazies play in game 2, along with the fans. Win or Go Home time Inside The Gates.