The Potency of Unpredictable Drama

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Wow, what an exciting NBA Finals playoff series this year! After Tuesday’s game six, superstar LeBron James stated, “It was by far the best game I’ve ever been a part of.”

Consider these dramatic angles on this year’s NBA playoff story…

The teams have alternated wins on every game, often coming from behind and then winning by a large margin.

The Spurs’ Danny Green is a whopping 68% from behind the 3 point line, setting an NBA Finals record of 25 3-pointers in 38 tries even before the end of just the fifth game.

Somehow the Heat have hung in there during this series and won even when their superstars had mediocre games with low personal scores. That’s because the bench came in and got it done.

Spurs “Old-timers” Duncan (Center) and Popovich (Coach) have won four titles together in 16 years–they’ve together longer than any other player and coach in NBA and even NFL history. But Duncan is 38 and not as crisp as he used to be… Except he scored 25 points in just the first half of game six! The Spurs had the Heat down for the count in that game six and were sure to win.

At the end of game six, Miami Heat fans believed they surely lost the game and the series since they were down five points with only 28 seconds left to play. But then an estimated 2,000 Heat fans banged on the doors to get back in when the heat came back and sent the game into overtime.

CBS Sports wrote about game six, “The mistakes by both teams weren’t simple mistakes brought about by carelessness or a lack of effort. They were forced by defense and exhaustion, the constant hammering of each team on the other’s will.”

LeBron stated, “You would never be able to recreate a feeling like I had, we had, the fans had, you guys had, people at home. Never be able to recreate that. I’m just blessed I could be a part of such an unbelievable moment.”

CBS Sports summed it up with salient facts: “Ten lead changes. A thirteen-point lead for the Spurs. And even after things fell apart, a step-back fadeaway three over LeBron Jams by Tony Parker seemed to end it. It should have been done. But not this game, not this series. Miami responded, LeBron James responded. Ray Allen responded. And despite an enormous effort by Parker and Kawhi Leonard, it wasn’t enough. There will be one more game after this rock opera wrapped up in 53 minutes of play.”

Dwyane Wade said “That’s why we love this game. It’s unpredictable. Only thing you can do when everything looks dim and dark, you just have to keep going.”

CBS Sports: “We’re just as boggled as everyone else by the twists in this series.”

After watching game six I realized that I value sports because of their inherent unpredictable drama. I went to graduate film school and have taken writing classes and written several screenplays and teleplays, and consumed a lot of books and other filmed entertainment, so I can usually figure out plots and character choices in fiction and films way before they manifest on the page or screen. But I have no clue how this series will end up. And that makes it fun!

The challenge it’s giving me in my professional life is to try to figure out how to tell stories that maintain enough of the conventions readers and audiences expect while still keeping characters and plots fresh. Maybe I’ll offer up some ideas for that in future posts. In the meantime, I’ve got to figure out how to watch this game at 3 AM in Europe, because I’m traveling for a couple days and it seems the game isn’t working on my Watch ESPN app on my iPad. (Of course the American sport is not playing on any of the channels here in Europe.)

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