While the playoff order in the West was set before the last game, the East still had drama left. The Heat and Bulls were tied for the last postseason spot at 40-41 with one game left apiece, and the Pacers were clinging onto the No. 7 seed at 41-40.
The Bulls held the tiebreaker over the Heat, which is why they moved into the playoffs despite identical records. But the Pacers did not. Miami defeated Indiana in two of their three regular season matchups and would have advanced into the playoffs if the Pacers lost their season finale.
But Indiana played the Atlanta Hawks, who had secured their standing as the fifth seed in the previous game. The Hawks went on to rest Dwight Howard, Kent Bazemore, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Dennis Schroder. The Pacers, at full strength, won by 18.
Stern put it best: “It’s inexcusable.”
Before we answer that, take a step back and remember that Stanton isn’t just a dinger-besotted curiosity. He’s been one of the best players in the game. When he was 22, he hit .290/.361/.608 with 37 home runs. Only five players had hit more home runs before turning 23, including Mel Ott, Frank Robinson, Eddie Mathews, and Alex Rodriguez. Tony Conigliaro snuck in there, which was an uncomfortable association after Stanton’s beaning in 2014, and Mike Trout and Bryce Harper later joined the club. That was it, though. It was a list that included some of the best baseball talents in the history of the sport.
When someone is that good, that young, they don’t have to get better and better and better until they’re 30, but it’s not unreasonable to hope that they will. And if they don’t, well, that’s a Cheap Youth NBA Jerseys pretty sweet baseline they’ve established. If you change the search to 21-year-olds with 50 career homers, you get …