The Wax Conspiracy

Back-to-Back; Kings vs Razorbacks - Entertainment Centre - Grand Finals: Game 5 - 06/04/04

Stabilising a blasted brainstem numbed with a burnt throat, no real sense of doom or elation presented itself. At least not in the wait to the final tip-off of the 2004 NBL Championships. Hype and buzz were mysteriously absent. The Entertainment Centre was filling nicely and with the crowd numbers announced at 9609, cosy is the Kingdome. Few patches remained in the seats but these are always the least bodied. No surprise to see them stocked with a splinter contingent of the rival's fans.

Name bombing started and stopped just as quick. The announcer reeled them off at a moderately speedy pace. Among the spectators, ex-host of ex-show The Resort, Jon Stevens and recycling the affection for Ebi Ere, Glenn McGrath with an ooh-aah of his own. Other names filled out near a dozen. Their attendance at the game means nothing and treated as such by the fans. Even less of a reception was paid to sub-grade singer, Christine Anu. Her availability more than likely the reason she was singing for the night. The Australian anthem is easy and for Anu, easier as singing it she wasn't. Music played over the speakers and the only voices heard resonated from the crowd. She was silent and presumably lip-synching for the fact.

Razorbacks scratched first points on the board within the first half minute sending us down back into our seats. This charge went on for the rest of the night. Struggling to find any form or burning desire, the Kings were looking rather complacent and letting their game show it. Blowing out to at one stage to a 20 point deficit and trailing for the first three quarters, the championship looked hazy and fading fast over the horizon. The stellar performance of the regular season and the fantastic fight seen in the last game sorely missing for the first half. Nerves were being wrecked and hope a distant glimmer.

Taking the court in one of the time outs, a flip flopping hip-hop act from dancing quartet, Hoop Dreams. Their set resembled more of an art installation or nouveau ballet interpretation. With nary a wild flailing of any limbs or even much movement, cheers all round passed as they sauntered off the court.

Christine Anu returned alone for the half-time wait complete with voice. Bland and drowsy, her song choices of something relatively new and then the old, Party, left the crowd truly uninterested. Given the entire court she turned her back on the southern end paying no attention. The purple koala/bear from ABC Learning Centres started dancing around her, ushering her to move from the centre spot and off the court. It was only during this time she faced the other half of the Entertainment Centre.

Quarter three was just as painful as the two previous. The Kings were valiantly trying their best to keep up with the Razorbacks who were extremely hungry to take home the trophy. Rillie, Mackinnon, Dwight and Penisi keeping the hurt on with as much intensity as the outset. Resignation and defeat started to water in the eyes of the majority hoping to celebrate a grand final win on home turf.

Mirroring the early play of the Kings players, the Lion was noticeably laid back. No antics, no flashy show, nothing. As his earlier games were much livelier, this proved to be a hint in the direction of disappointment and deflation.

Back into the final quarter, the Kings toyed with the emotions and hearts of the fans. Their chase well and truly refueled, the margin ebbed and flowed from as high as 15 points down to the chase of 5. Brett Wheeler must have been feeling the hurt. Five times on the losing side of finals teams, his possession was gasped with a tentative reaction toward poison. Stats for the game would show the fears unfounded. Hearts racing, air conditioning ducts pounded and seat backs walloped when the Razorbacks called a time out to regroup and slow the emergent fire of the Kings.

Two minutes remaining, Ebi Ere blasts out from the final time out of the night to shoot the Kings a much needed lock on the scoreboard. Few seconds passed before the Kings flamed into leapfrogging over the Razorbacks. Awed, their only retaliation was in the form of air balls and fumbled rebounds. Even Rillie was burnt out and the Razorbacks as a whole freaked into extremely bad shots from the court. The Kings ran away with a gloriously blazing 18-0 score-fest. Roaring with each point, three and free, the crowd boomed out the foundations. Seconds vanished from the clock to leave the scores apparently clear just who the champions were. Hearing the final siren, the collective cranked, fists were pumping and Goorjian pounded his chest with respect to the loyal fans seated in the stands behind the trenches.

Sydney Kings sealed the back-to-back championship deal over the West Sydney Razorbacks, 90-79. Kings over the series, 3 games to 2.

Fluttering down from the rafters, glittering ticker tape and streamers. Boomed out at the final zero, and faint disgust from the Razorbacks fans. Near non-stop came the applause for the gallant and spectacular come back from the Kings to present the Sydney crowd reason to celebrate.

Presented with their consolations, only John Rillie of the Razorbacks walked on stage with congratulatory warmth. The other Razorbacks were given it cold. Much whooping and cheering as each of the Kings made their way to the stage and an exhausted Brian Goorjian once again thanked the crowd. Chests kept on being pounded as the stadium ever slowly siphoned its numbers. One by one the Kings stepped up to the ladder to cut off another strand of the basketball net. Celebrations carried on in the Entertainment Centre but a quiet ride home awaited with reflection and a chance to bring down the ringing in the ears.

Ethan Switch

Reviewed on Wednesday, 7 April 2004

The Wax Conspiracy



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