On March 6, 2005, the Celtics squared off against the Pacers in an early playoff game. With less than a minute left, Paul Pierce was fouled hard by Jamaal Tinsley, and Pierce got heated and elbowed Tinsley back. He got his second technical foul and was ejected for the elbow.
Since Pierce still had to take two free throws, this opened up the craziest scenario in the rulebook. The Pacers were allowed to choose whoever they wanted from the Celtics bench to shoot the two shots. They chose the biggest scrub on the team, the guy who had been drafted two years earlier and still hadn't done anything: Kendrick Perkins. He missed both free throws... badly. The Celtics were eliminated a few days later, and Perkins had a few months to think it all over.
I love stories about failure (I'm a sadist), but what I love best is stories with a comeback. Mike Breen described Kendrick Perkins's effort last night as "the game of his life." He may have had a better game in high school, but his 18 points and 16 boards against the Pistons speak for themselves. He is now a starter on a team one game away from the finals.
I still hope that every New England sports team comes together for a big celebration only to be blown up by in a vivid, stadium-sized conflagration, but I'll feel bad about Kendrick Perkins. What a story.