Ο Πολ Γουέστφαλ είχε ζητήσει το πιο διάσημο τάιμ άουτ στην ιστορία και μπαίνει στο Hall of Fame

28

Μόνο και μόνο για την παρανοϊκά ιδιοφυή απόφασή του στους τελικούς του ’76 ο Πολ Γουέστφαλ κερδίζει δικαιωματικά μια θέση στο Hall of Fame του αμερικανικού μπάσκετ.

Εφέτος στη λίστα όσων θ’ ανέβουν στην εξέδρα για να γελάσουν αρχικά, να κλάψουν στο αποκορύφωμα του λόγου τους και να νιώσουν υπερήφανοι στο γκραν φινάλε θα πέσεις πάνω το όνομα του Σέρβο Βλάντε Ντίβατς. Όπως επίσης τον Μπόμπι Τζόουνς (11 φορές στην καλύτερη αμυντική 5άδα στις 12 σεζόν της καριέρας του), τον Σίντνεϊ Μονκρίφ (πέντε φορές καλύτερος αμυντικός της σεζόν), τον Αλ Ατλς (τον Κάρι των Γουόριορς στα 70s), αλλά και τον Πολ Γουέστφαλ.

Οι σημερινοί 40άρηδες θα θυμούνται τη ψηλόλιγνη φιγούρα του με τα φαρδιά ανοιχτόχρωμα κοστούμια από τα μέσα των 90s και το ΝΒΑ Action (που δεν έχαναν ποτέ). Ήταν ο προπονητής των Φίνιξ Σανς την περίοδο που τέσταραν τις αντοχές τους απέναντι στους Σικάγο Μπουλς του Μάικλ Τζόρνταν, φτάνοντας να έχουν το καλύτερο ρεκόρ στην κανονική περίοδο (62-20) και να φτάσουν ένα σουτ (του Τζον Πάξον) μακριά από το δαχτυλίδι του πρωταθλητή.

AP Photo/Bill ChanΟ Γουέστφαλ είχε την τύχη να εργαστεί με τον Τσαρλς Μπάρκλεϊ, τον Κέβιν Τζόνσον, τον Ντάνι Έιντζ και τον Νταν Μάρλι, τον Σέντρικ Σεμπάλος και τον Τομ Τσέιμπερς, φτιάχνοντας την προπονητική φήμη του και δουλεύοντας έκτοτε σε Σόνικς – Κινγκς ως πρώτος και σε Μάβερικς – Νετς ως μέλος του σταφ. Τίτλο δεν κατέκτησε ως κόουτς – αρκέστηκε σε δύο παρουσίες σε all star oμάδες.

Μάθε ωστόσο όμως ότι ενόσω ήταν ακόμη ενεργός παίκτης υπήρξε κομμάτι των Σέλτικς του 1974, που έφτασαν μέχρι την κορυφή του ΝΒΑ, ενώ το 1976 ήταν παρών στο ‘greatest game ever played’ ως βασικός σούτινγκ γκαρντ των Σανς (συμπαίκτης του Πατ Ράιλι) και αντίπαλος των ‘Κελτών’.

Ήταν ο 5ος τελικός εκείνης της σεζόν και το δεύτερο παιχνίδι που διεξαγόταν ποτέ Ιούνιο μήνα! Η σειρά ήταν ισόπαλη 2-2 και ο ‘Κήπος’ της Βοστόνης φιλοξενούσε το νέο ραντεβού των δύο διεκδικητών.

 https://youtu.be/X-RX1B_tF5c

 

Το αποτέλεσμά του κρίθηκε μετά από τρεις παρατάσεις χάρη στο 128-126 υπέρ των γηπεδούχων. Προτού το 16-14 της ομάδας του Τομ Χέινσον στο τρίτο διαδοχικό πεντάλεπτο διαμορφώσει το τελικό αποτέλεσμα, κύλησαν στο ρολόι τα πιο αδιανόητα 20 δευτερόλεπτα – τα τελευταία της δεύτερης παράτασης.

Οι Σέλτικς είχαν, θεωρητικά, ασφαλές προβάδισμα (109-106), καθώς το τρίποντο δεν είχε καθιερωθεί ακόμη.

Συνέβησαν όμως τα εξής:

> Οι Σανς έπαιξαν την μπάλα απ’ έξω και μείωσαν γρήγορα με τον Ντικ Βαν Αρστντέιλ.

> Οι Σέλτικς επιχείρησαν να κάνουν την επαναφορά, αλλά έσφαλαν. Ο Γουέστφαλ παρενέβη, έκλεψε και έσωσε την κατοχή προτού πατήσει την πλάγια γραμμά και πάσαρε στον Κέρτις Πέρι. Αυτός πήρε το σουτ, αλλά αστόχησε.

> Ο Χάβλιτσεκ προσπάθησε να μαζέψει το ριμπάουντ, πήδηξε ψηλά, αλλά δεν έφτασε την μπάλα, η οποία κατέληξε ξανά στα χέρια του Πέρι. Αυτή τη φορά, αν και μαρκαρισμένος, βρήκε στόχο από πολύ πιο δύσκολη θέση. Οι Σανς είχαν μόλις προηγηθεί 110-109.

> Στα λιγότερα από 6 δεύτερα που απέμεναν για τη λήξη ο Χάβλιτσεκ διένυσε το παρκέ και, παρόλο που δεν είχε την καλύτερη ισορροπία φεύγοντας προς τα μπρος, σημάδεψε σωστά σκοράροντας με ταμπλό για το 111-110 των Σέλτικς.

> Εν μέσω έξαλλων πανηγυρισμών για το (υποτίθεται) νικητήριο καλάθι ένας θεατής επιτέθηκε στον διαιτητή Ρικ Πάουερς και οι δυο τους ενεπλάκησαν σε καβγά πέφτοντας στο παρκέ.

> Οι παίκτες των Σέλτικς είχαν ήδη φύγει για τ’ αποδυτήρια, θεωρώντας ότι το παιχνίδι έχει ολοκληρωθεί. Βιάστηκαν.

> Αφού η τάξη αποκαταστάθηκε οι διαιτητές έκριναν πως στο ρολόι απέμενε τουλάχιστον ένα δευτερόλεπτο και μια τελευταία επίθεση για τους Σανς. Μόνο που η μπάλα θα έπρεπε να επανέλθει από το δικό τους καλάθι και όχι από το κέντρο του γηπέδου, καθώς είχε προηγηθεί σκορ δεν υπήρχε διαθέσιμο τάιμ άουτ.

Ήταν τότε που ο Πολ Γουέστφαλ σκαρφίστηκε κάτι παρανοϊκά απλό. Ενώ γνώριζε πως η ομάδα του Τζον ΜακΛίοντ δεν δικαιούνταν άλλο τάιμ άουτ για να μεταφέρει την μπάλα στο κέντρο, το ζήτησε επιτακτικά και τιμωρήθηκε με τεχνική ποινή, όπως όριζαν οι κανόνες. Κάτι που δεν είχε συμβεί στο φινάλε της κανονικής περιόδου, όταν με το σκορ στο 96-96 ο Πολ Σάιλας ζήτησε απερίσκεπτα τάιμ άουτ χωρίς να υπάρχει η δυνατότητα, αλλά ο διαιτητής δεν τον τιμώρησε και… έκλεψε μια νικητήρια βολή από τους Σανς.

Στην περίπτωση του Γουέστφαλ αντιθέτως, οι Σέλτικς πήραν τη βολή αυτή. Βέβαια οι Σανς κέρδισαν τα απαιτούμενα μέτρα προκειμένου το τελευταίο σουτ να εκτελεστεί υπό ευνοϊκότερες συνθήκες. Ο Τζο Τζο Γουάιτ επέλεξε να ευστοχήσει από τη γραμμή του φάουλ, αντί να τη χαραμίσει ξοδεύοντας το χρόνο και οι ‘ήλιοι’ αύξησαν αυτομάτως τις πιθανότητες για μια νέα παράταση.

Όπως ακριβώς συνέβη. Την επαναφορά έκανε ο Πέρι, ο οποίος πάσαρε στον Χερντ κι αυτός μ’ ένα ψηλοκρεμαστό σουτ από το ύψος του ημικυκλίου ισοφάρισε 112-112.

Ορίστε πώς:

 

Στο φινάλε η ομάδα από την Αριζόνα ηττήθηκε και ύστερα από το εις βάρος της 87-80 στο Φίνιξ το πρωτάθλημα χάθηκε με 4-2 από τους Σέλτικς που αναδείχθηκαν πρωταθλητές για 13η φορά τότε – πρώτη μετά το ’69. Παρόλ’ αυτά ο Πολ Γουέστφαλ είχε καταφέρει να ‘χτίσει’ το μύθο του ήδη. Ασχέτως αν στη διαδρομή της καριέρας του έγραψε επίσης 12.809 πόντους, 3.591 ασίστ και 1022 κλεψίματα, όντας all star 5 φορές (οι τρεις ως βασικός) και μια φορά (1978) μέλος της δεύτερης καλύτερης πεντάδας της σεζόν.

Contra.gr

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