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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sasha Vujacic's 3-Pointer for Tacos as Lakers beat Spurs to win the Western Conference Finals

The game was seemingly over. With just five seconds left in game 5 of the 2008 Western Conference Finals the Spurs played off the Lakers as they brought the ball up the court, holding onto a 97-92 lead. The San Antonio Spus had resigned to their fate, that there would be no repeat, that the Los Angeles Lakers were once again a superpower in the Western Conference to be reckoned with.

Sasha Vujacic takes a buzzer beating 3 point shot in order to get free tacos for Lakers fans against the Spurs
Then Sasha Vujacic aka "The Machine" jacks up a 3-point shot right at the buzzer. That shot goes right through the hoop, nothing but the bottom of the net. Lakers win 100-92, and Michael Finley shoots a long stare at Sasha for the unnecessary play.

What in the world happened?

Immediately, commentators Doug Collins and Marv Albert of TNT had a remark about the shot -- calling out Finley's dirty look at Sasha Vujacic -- agreeing that the game was decided and the shot was unnecessary. Perhaps it was just youth.

At the same time, instantaneously across the Internet, message boards at ESPN, AOL, and other sports hubs found Spurs fans calling the Lakers classless, that they were rubbing in to the Spurs, waving that closeout game in their face unnecessarily. How much of a worse sport could you be?

Some assumed the shot was much more nefarious given the recent refree scandal that Tim Donaghy was centered in. That with the spread in the 7 point range -- the three point shot was taken to beat the spread and Sasha was in out. Pretty far fetched.

However, the reality is that none of the three cases above -- youth, poor sportsmanship, or the gambling odds / spread -- had anything to do with it. What did, then you ask?

Sasha did it for the fans. By hitting that shot, it gave free coupons from Jack-In-The-Box for 2 Tacos to everyone in attendance. A 99-cent value.

Not following me?

For years around the NBA, certain corporate sponsors offer goodies when the local sports team wins in a certain fashion. In fact, I can remember Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Taco Bell Chalupas, and over the past couple of years -- Jack-In-The-Box has given away a coupon for two tacos, normally $.99 when the Los Angeles Lakers win under certain conditions.

What are the conditions you ask? Well, this year they are a little different than previous years and I think this is what is causing some of the confusion. In addition, there are several variations of the rule. So, first the variations, and then the current rule for Staples Center for the 2007-08 NBA season at Staples Center.

In the past it had been that anytime the Los Angeles Lakers win a game at Staples Center and hold their opponent to less than 100 points, every fan in attendance receives a coupon for two free tacos at Jack-In-The-Box.

There has been a slightly different variation where if the Lakers win and score 100 points or more, then every fan in attendance receives a coupon for two free tacos at Jack-In-The-Box.

The rule that Jack-In-The-Box has in place for this year and the playoffs (which I experienced during my attendance at the Lakers vs. Warriors game last month) is that anytime the Lakers win at Staples Center, score 100 points or more, AND hold their opponents to less than 100 points, every fan in attendance receives a coupon for two free tacos at Jack-In-The-Box.

So there you have it -- Sasha Vujacic only took the 3-point shot at the buzzer for the fans, to hand about $20k worth of free tacos to celebrate the Western Conference Championship by the Lakers. For anyone who has heard that "We want tacos" chant that often happens the last two minutes of a game at Staples Center, Sasha had no choice other than to take that shot. Way to go Sasha, all the Lakers fans love it!


Anonymous said...

Sasha's shot also made the Lakers cover the spread (they wouldn't have covered otherwise). This is why so many people that bet against the Lakers that game were so pissed.