On Friday night, the Arsenal triumphed 133-130 over the Colorado 14ers in one of the stranger finishes that I’ve ever seen to a basketball game. The Arsenal forced overtime after trailing for the entire 4th quarter (and almost the entire second half) on a tip-in by Jamaal Thomas after an intentional free throw miss. Then, Kedrick Brown fouled out early in overtime, leaving the Arsenal with only four players on the floor. (The Arsenal only dressed 9 players for the game, had two earlier foul-outs, plus a two-technical ejection of Ivan Johnson, and an injury to Guillermo Diaz that kept him from returning in the game.) Yet, somehow, the Arsenal managed to pull out a win over a team that’s leading the Southwest Division. I’ve never actually seen the situation where a team is forced to play with less than 5 on the floor — I didn’t actually know what would happen in that case, never having tested that in the old standby, videogame basketball.
An exciting win like this, over one of the better teams in the league, gives me hope that the Arsenal can claw their way back to respectability. Granted, they’re still 4 games below .500 and have yet to win on the road, but we’re only about a quarter of the way through the season, so there’s still plenty of time to turn things around. One issue that I’ve brought up before, and which continued to bedevil the Arsenal in this game, is that they are drastically undersized. If you look at the box score, they got absolutely pounded on the boards, and unless they can find some kind of way to play through that, I worry that they’ll continue to give up lots of boards and easy inside buckets.