First things first (in the last two minutes)

“Wow, you know about basketball.”

20 years ago, I had dudes in bars telling me this, heads shaking, amazed. Shocked that someone who’d gone to a bar specifically to watch basketball would know the names of the starting five of her home team, or which positions they played.

I definitely knew those things.

Someone would gripe about Bonzi Wells shooting 3-11, and I’d say, “Well, he scored 14 on them, so what’s the problem?” Evidently, this sizzling analysis is the last thing you’d expect from a femme cis lady in her 20s.

I didn’t have cable, so the bar it was to suffer through these conversations, nursing a beer per half that I bought with my crappy tips from the Boyd’s on 15th and Taylor. Shout out to the Marathon Taverna, special respect to that old guy who leaned precariously a few inches toward me that one time and asked, “….and whose little girl are you?”

I knew enough about basketball to follow it, but I’d never played. After playing sports semi-seriously in the 30s, this started to bother me. I was watching basketball, enjoying the flow and the energy, but there was a lot I didn’t get.

Luckily, I didn’t let that bother me and I kept enjoying the energy and flow and asking “what team is so-and-so on again?” and chilling and enjoying that part of my life.


I’m still chill and enjoying my life, but now I’ve learned that things called “defensive schemes” and “offensive sets” exist. (Did I get that right?) Yeah, I can see a switch, and maybe sniff out a zone, but that’s about it.

There’s more to learn, and for as long as it’s interesting, I’m in it to win it.

So here we start, at the beginning of our experiment: learning about basketball. My husband and I are enjoying the Blazers – Jazz game, a game we (we = Blazers, we are Blazers, see Bonzi Wells comment above) are winning comfortably, something we haven’t done all season.

Jabari Walker gets fouled in garbage time. It’s the first foul in the last two minutes.

We realize we’ve been aware of “first foul in the last two minutes” for decades without  understanding what that means.

Wait! As I’m writing this, a shimmer of understanding is flowing over me from the Hack-a-Shaq era. Do you get free throws? Magically? As the first foul in the last two minutes, even if you’re not in the penalty? Let’s look it up.

Text of the "First in the last two minutes" rule from the NBA Official pge

What the hell — if you’re not in the penalty, you’re not in the penalty? Why did the Jazz broadcasters bring this up when Jabari got free throws? (We couldn’t get our local broadcast on Fubo, it was stupid, Root Sports is a stupid station.)

This barely makes sense. So thanks to this one Reddit person for clarifying:

Appreciate it!

So the “first in the last two minutes” is a solemn warning. That’s your last freebie. From there on out, you’re shooting free throws.

You can’t save up all your fouls for the last two minutes. Would it slow down the game? It’s already pretty slow at the end. People have to take showers and fly to other cities and all.

There wasn’t really any reason for the Jazz broadcaster to bring it up because they were apparently already in the penalty.

AM I MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE THAN THE JAZZ BROADCASTING TEAM NOW? Well, since I wasn’t paying attention to anything else they said, and I never plan on listening to them again, I’m going to say it: all available evidence points to yes.


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