Judge Lacey Worrell takes it to the hole for two... AND THE FOUL!!!
Some of the most incredible finishes in sports take place in the NBA.
I adore basketball. It is the rare sport where one team can be leading by 25 or 30 points in the final quarter, only to blow the lead and be overtaken in the last few seconds, leaving fans of both teams biting their nails to the quick. The furor that surrounds the Final Four in the NCAA college-level tournaments, as well as the NBA playoffs and championship series, is contagious. As with any sport, tensions can run very high, leading to increasing violence between players (the names Latrell Sprewell and Ron Artest spring to mind) and coaches. This violence, and the personal problems of players such as Kobe Bryant, can overshadow the game. Overall, however, it doesn't get much more exciting than the last few seconds of a basketball game.
NBA Furious Finishes culls the best moments of professional basketball games in to a tidy, 74-minute package. A 2-minute intro highlights just how tense the final few seconds of a basketball game can be, when a lead can narrow and the members of the winning team struggle to hold on to that lead as the losing team narrows its focus and attempts to overcome the odds. Fans and players alike know that as long as the ball is in the air as the final buzzer sounds, a team can still score and win the game provided the score is close enough. Professional basketball is not always about a team effort; if anything, it is about the individual stars who showboat their way to victory, at times to the consternation of those who wish they would pass the ball more often. But hey, if an individual player is on a hot streak, fans and coaches alike are happy to let him have his way and dominate the court.
Michael Jordan fans will love the fact that proper homage is paid here to their hero, with a special focus on his final years with the Bulls and his complete dominance of the court. The NBA hasn't quite been the same since Jordan's departure from the Bulls; think of it as if Tiger Woods retired from the PGA. NBA Furious Finishes is a reverent highlight of Jordan's glory days, along with those who dared to challenge him. NBA greats Larry Bird and Reggie Miller also have segments devoted exclusively to them. There are also interviews with Jordan and Miller, and stars such as John Paxson, Nick Van Exel, Patrick Ewing, Jason Kidd, and ridiculously successful coach Phil Jackson.
This DVD is divided into segments such as "The Past and the Furious," with older footage of legends such as Jerry West and Magic Johnson of the Lakers, and "Beat the Clock," which features Toni Kukoc, David Robinson, and Larry Johnson. Other segments not to be missed are "The Unexpected" and "Can You Stop This," which feature shots that may not be very pretty in their execution, but are amazing and, most importantly, show how even a second- or third-string player can be a star in the final few seconds of a game.
For a DVD that features sports highlights, the 74-minute run time is quite generous, considering fans would most likely still be willing to pay money for a 30 or 45 minute DVD. One of the benefits of sports highlights being released on DVD is that one does not necessarily have to be a sports fan to appreciate the footage; whether a compilation features football, basketball, or baseball, the phenomenal talent combined with hard work can be appreciated by anyone. NBA Furious Finishes is one of the better ones, in that it takes the very best moments of professional basketball games and puts them into an exciting, well-organized presentation. The producers could simply have thrown together the footage, but great care appears to have been taken in creating a high-quality presentation, both in terms of the actual video and audio quality as well as the footage that was selected. The inclusion of the announcers' calls of the game and their own growing excitement as great moments build and quickly occur on the court will encourage viewers' own excitement as they watch these great plays of the game. Viewers may not have the time to sit through entire games, waiting for something exciting to happen, but certainly the investment of time into this DVD is a wise one.
The fact that this particular compilation focuses on the talents of players who peaked ten to fifteen years ago may be particularly welcome to those who have soured on the bad press the NBA has received of late. Watch, enjoy, and prepare to be astonished as great moments of the game unfold before you.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
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