Dunks rained down like hellfire on the Sixers' basket. Spencer Hawes grabbed whatever protection he could--a towel, a spare practice jersey, and cowered behind the stanchion that supported the basket. Now was not the time for pride--what good was pride if you weren't going to live to have it.
"Oh, my God, Spence!" Evan Turner yelled. "We didn't know this was allowed!"
"Evan!" Hawes screamed. "Get back where it's safe!"
Turner turned to face the all-out assault. "You know, it never occurred to us," he said, "to drive to the basket. I wonder if there's some advantage to be had in that."
Hawes shielded his eyes from the glare of the explosions. Certainly the Sixers could not survive such a bombardment much longer. "Evan!" he yelled. "Get back here! It's not safe!"
Evan Turner had scarcely turned back to face his comrade when a layup attempt brought two points to the Clippers, causing the floor beneath him to explode in a fire that enveloped the languid jump-shooter with the fury of an overhead tomahawk dunk.
Hawes cowered back behind the padding of the basket support. It wasn't cowardice, he knew. If only he'd been given a weapon...Hawes picked up a basketball and hucked it at the goal from 20 feet away. No effect. The Clippers were coming at the basket with dunks and layups and the fury of an avenging angel. He had to stop them, somehow--
Spencer Hawes peeked out from around the corner, to see Nick Young chucking basketballs at the Clippers' net with a fearless abandon, laughing like a man who had confronted his own damnation and made peace with it.
"You'll never take me alive!" Swaggy yelled after he exhausted his supply of basketballs. The Clippers' onslaught of open-court dunks and alley-oops had laid such waste on the Sixers' defenses that an observer couldn't help but recall Cortes' conquest of Tenochtitlan. Or the opening scene of Wing Commander.
Nick Young held his basketball in his hand, looked back at Hawes and smiled. Raising his arms and his face toward the heavens, he serenely accepted the destruction that he knew would visit him and his team. Better to face the fall like a man, he reasoned, than to cower under cover and try to put off the inevitable.
It was a barrage of alley-oops that brought Nick Young low. "NOOOOOOO!" Hawes screamed, finally scrambling out from his place of refuge. He found himself face-to-face with Blake Griffin, with a basketball in hand and lust in his eye, angling toward the hoop.
"You'll never take me alive!" Spencer Hawes yelled, jumping defiantly to contest the Clippers' shot at the rim.
"As you wish," Griffin said calmly, with a smirk, almost patronizing the Sixers center as he leaped skyward, ball cradled in his outstretched arm the way a real man holds his lover, open palm on her hip, making her feel at once completely safe and completely under the power of such a powerful directive of masculinity as lesser NBA centers can only dream of.
The ball rattled through the hoop as Spencer Hawes collapsed in a heap against the stanchion behind which he'd once sought refuge.
Griffin, two points obtained, crouched before his fallen adversary and extended a hand.
"No," Hawes gasped, the last grasps of life escaping his lungs. "Let me die in peace."
"I can save you," Griffin pleaded. "Don't be so proud. It doesn't have to end this way."
"No," Hawes said, with a defeated cough. "It does. 'Tis a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done. 'Tis a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known."