To quote an a literary expression first coined in Geoffery Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Rafer did the damn thing in Game 3.
Sure he made some boneheaded decisions, forced a few things and seemed to follow up ever great play with an equally quixotic one, but as you can see here in this “All-Access Game 3” video, the Magic probably don’t win unless Rafer is able to keep the Lakers interior defense honest by continually driving the ball to the rim.
(Sidenote: Van Gundy’s post-game press conference comments about how he was able to help shake Rafer out of his Game 1 and Game 2 funks were super. “I’m a motivational genius, that’s what I am,” said SVG. “I thought for two days about what to say to him and I said ‘Play your game.'”)
I’ve always been a big Skip to My Lou fan so it was nice to see him earn at least some form of redemption after his early series troubles. But what’s even nicer is to see archival footage of him rocking the And 1 Mixtape back before it turned into a really lame show on ESPN. For the uninitiated, these videos were the hottest thing in the underground basketball world back when they were little more than VHS highlight tapes of streetball. And Rafer was the undisputed star — to the point that Skip is pretty much solely to blame for the horrible “And 1 Guy” tattoos on the arms of his teammate Rashard Lewis, Phoenix Sun Matt Barnes, Chicago Bull Brad Miller and thousands of other misguided, impressionable ballers who came of age in the 1990s. I’m sure those seemed like a good idea at the time, fellas, but now you may as well have the adidas logo on your bicep. Hell, Rafer was so hot back then that he even parlayed his And 1 buzz into a Slam cover story despite the fact that he was an otherwise unheralded point guard playing college ball in the WAC.
Thus, here’s video of Rafer breaking ankles and earning his nickname. Bonus: It’s set to the best YouTube highlight video song sung by a kid-peer. (via NBA Playoffs 2009 Tumblr, which has easily captured the Postseason MVP of the NBA blogosphere. I mean, you can’t look at this and tell me that amazing is happening more often anywhere else.)