Here we go. The NBA Finals. New York vs. Houston. Blintzes versus barbecue. Wall Street thieves versus oil executives.
Will Spike Lee trash-talk a bull? Will Marv Albert wear a cowboy hat? Will Woody Allen fall in love with a rancher’s teenage daughter?
Guess what? I happen to have the answers. . . .
GAME 1: A hot morning in the Bronx. A radio deejay wakes up the neighborhood. Danny Aiello opens his pizza parlor, and . . .
Wait. Sorry. That’s “Do the Right Thing.”
GAME 1: A hot morning in Texas. A radio deejay wakes up the state. “Only six more weeks till Cowboys training camp, folks!” By lunch, fans are vaguely aware that something else is happening. By tip-off, real live people are in the Summit.
“What time this here rodeo start?” they ask.
The game is hard-fought, seesaw, and other cliches. Houston wins, 79-77, on Vernon Maxwell’s desperation three- pointer. “TAKE THAT, SPIKE LEE!” Maxwell screams. Unfortunately, Spike is not there. He told his cab driver,
“Take me to the big game.” The driver went to a buffalo ranch.
GAME 2: The Rockets are shocked to find Sean Elliott, the Pistons forward, writing his name over Robert Horry’s locker. “I wanna be a Rocket,” Elliott says. “Let me be a Rocket. The trade was good, it was good. Please. . . . ”
Security has to take him away.
Shaken by the scene, Houston misses its first 15 shots. The Knicks even the series, 69-60. Spike Lee again misses the game, because he told his cabbie, “Take me to the Rockets.” The driver went to NASA headquarters.
GAME 3: A summer morning in New York. A boy is playing trumpet, as his friends come to p—
No. Wait. That’s “Mo’ Better Blues.”
GAME 3: A summer morning in New York. Howard Stern begins his radio show by offering $10,000 to anyone who’ll punch Rudy Tomjanovich in the jaw again. Don Imus offers $20,000 to anyone who’ll punch Stern in the jaw. Regis Philbin offers $30,000 to anyone who’ll explain basketball to him.
By nightfall, Madison Square Garden is jumping. Pat Riley, in an effort to grow closer to his players, shaves his head. Unfortunately, Riley now looks like David Carradine in “Kung Fu.”
“Where the hell you going, grasshopper?” a security guard asks.
He throws Riley out.
Without their coach, the Knicks flounder on offense more than usual. They score 10 baskets all night, and lose, 58-49, the lowest score in NBA Finals history. New York fans, showing their undying loyalty, demand that every Knick be traded.
GAME 4: . . . is mugged.
GAME 5: NBA commissioner David Stern is concerned with the low-scoring Finals. A reporter asks Charles Oakley about the physical play.
“Charles?” he says.
“Huh?” Oakley says, spinning and landing an elbow in the reporter’s eye.
The game goes 20 minutes without a field goal, and 40 minutes without a touchdown. The Knicks win when John Starks gets a breakaway lay-up. He is so shocked, he misses his first two tries, but the Rockets are too exhausted to run downcourt. Knicks 34, Rockets 32. New York fans now demand a raise for every player — from George Steinbrenner.
GAME 6: A quiet street in New York. Wesley Snipes is in bed with his wife, and —
No. Wait. That’s “Jungle Fever.”
GAME 6: A muggy morning in Houston. Trailing, 3-2, the Rockets return home, only to find that Elliott has moved into Horry’s house. Meanwhile, Hakeem Olajuwon, whom the Knicks have quadruple-teamed, collapses from exhaustion. The Rockets must start 36-year-old Earl Cureton, who wears a tag,
“Hello, my name is . . . “
Cureton scores 27 points. The rest of the Rockets, however, score two. Oakley grabs a loose ball with five seconds left, but instead of shooting, he does what comes naturally. He pounds the ball with his fist. The buzzer sounds; Houston wins, 29-28.
“Are you crazy?” Spike Lee yells at Oakley. “They could have called a flagrant foul!”
“Huh?” Oakley says, spinning and knocking Lee in the jaw.
GAME 7: The entire state of Texas is excited: only four more weeks till Cowboys training camp. Meanwhile, in Game 7, Houston opens strong, takes a four-point lead, but New York storms back to within one. So at halftime, it’s Rockets 4, Knicks 3.
“Defense!” Riley tells his troops.
“Defense!’ Tomjanovich tells his troops.
“Water,” gasp the players.
In the fourth quarter, score 10-10, players start dropping. Patrick Ewing. Olajuwon. Oakley. Derek Harper. With seven seconds left, the Knicks look down their bench and . . . Willis Reed is pulling off his sweats. The Rockets look down their bench and . . . Elvin Hayes is pulling off his sweats. The two old men meet at half court, jump it up, and suffer coronaries. They are rushed to the hospital.
Meanwhile, in the confusion, the ball rolls to Spike Lee, who throws it at the basket. Swish. Unfortunately, it’s the wrong basket, and Houston wins the championship, 12-10.
“IT’S THE SHOES, MARS!” the Rockets yell. The Knicks fly home, and are immediately traded. Lee moves to Texas, where he begins work on a controversial film about cattle, titled “Milk’m X.”