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How To Drive a Sports Fan with Withdrawal Crazy in 120 Minutes

“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” is about love, but really it’s about a parallel universe where the Knicks play the Kings in the 2002 NBA Finals.

Madison Square Garden by Jean-Baptiste Bellet is licensed under CC BY 2.0

How To Drive a Sports Fan with Withdrawal Crazy in 120 Minutes


Estimated Reading Time: 8 Minutes

Like most of us, I am trying to fill the sports-less hours in the days with a variety of Netflix (Tiger King was overrated), movies (“The Way Back” was decent) and video games (Third time through “The Last of Us” and it’s still my favorite game ever).

However, for some of us filling up these hours is a compromise with the people we live with. After all, love is a partnership.

This is how I found myself watching “How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days” recently. And just so we’re clear, “HTLAGITD” is not a movie where Matthew McConaughey…:

  • Falls in love with his wedding planner played by J-LO (that’s “The Wedding Planner”)
  • Falls in love with the therapist his parents hire to get him to move out, played by Sarah Jessica Parker (that’s “Failure to Launch”)
  • Or falls back in love with his childhood girlfriend played by Jennifer Garner after being visited by ghosts (that’s “Ghosts of Girlfriend’s Past”)

No, in this one he falls in love with Kate Hudson after making a bet he can get her to fall in love with him. She is also a journalist who is planning to get him to dump her after 10 days of dating so she can write a column on it (hence the title).

To be clear, I’m not anti-rom-com. I think the best one is “Notting Hill.” That’s not what this is about.

What I want… no, what I NEED to talk about with this movie is a lot of it revolves around the New York Knicks playing the Sacramento Kings in the 2002 NBA Finals.

And so we’re all aligned, I looked up the iMDB trivia on this movie and it says, “The New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings have yet to the play the NBA Finals in the 21st Century.”

There were several choices related to this that I simply cannot stop thinking about. And while I know I’m being nitpicky and a little weird, I need anything sports-related I can find.

So while the Turf has you covered on reviewing actual NBA Finals, how about we dive into one that’s made up?

The Knicks-Kings Choice

You have to know, I’m not just some guy. I used to work in show business. It doesn’t matter in what capacity. The point is, I know how these things work. The Knicks had to be one of the teams because it needs to take place in NY because that’s the only place advertising agencies (McConaughey’s job) exist.

However, it’s still a bit difficult to ignore the fact that the 2001-02 Knicks went 30-52.

In this universe, the Knicks have still fired Jeff Van Gundy, but somehow Don Chaney has led this team with no All-Stars to maybe the most improbable run in sports.

The Kings appearance is easier to understand (they went 61-21 in 01-02), but ends up being pretty fascinating when you consider the filmmakers had to make this choice during the season (the in-game stuff seems to be from a game on 3/14/02) and then the Kings lost in seven games to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals in one of the most discussed series ever.

Game 1

This is the only live-action we see in the movie and again it seems to be from a game the Knicks won 113-96 that season. One weird note is Chris Webber did not play in that game and so he does not appear in any scenes relating to this series. Probably easy to ignore or be unaware of for most of the audience of this movie, but to psychos like me, it’s GLARING.

The scene revolves around the game ending on a last-second shot that McConaughey misses because Kate Hudson makes him get her a soda (as part of her ploy to “lose him”).

Now, for you fellow sports-deprived maniacs, here’s a breakdown of the end of the game.

We go live with 1:24 left in the game and the Knicks leading 93-91. Latrell Sprewell leads the Knicks with 42 points and Mike Bibby leads the Kings with 33.

There’s a timeout and a kiss cam scene, who cares. Then off the TO, the Kings get a tip-in to tie. Sprewell scores again, giving him 44. But then Bibby hits a three, giving him 36 and the Kings a 96-95 lead.

For the last play, the Knicks in a shocking move SWITCH the basket they are scoring on and also make a substitution of Charlie Ward for Marc Jackson during LIVE play. It’s really something.

And Sprewell makes a last-second shot to win the game.

Can we just take a moment to think about if this really happened with Sprewell? He’s 31 years old this season and never makes another All-Star team, but he drops 46 points and makes the game-winning shot in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. This is so crazy I kind of wish it actually happened.

Game 2

Ok, so in this scene, McConaughey has made a really lovely meal for the two of them and has a great set up with the table facing the TV for Game 2. The problem? The meal is lamb and Hudson pretends she’s a vegetarian, forcing them to need to go to a vegetarian restaurant, which is hysterical because he’s an adult man and as we all know when men grow up they forget vegetables exist/are edible.

Then Hudson pretends McConaughey insinuates she’s fat and then pretends to go to the bathroom, and with all this pretending you might as well call her Chrissie Hynde………… Anyways, Hudson actually sneaks into the kitchen to watch the end of Game 2 with the staff.

We quickly learn Sprewell has just tied it up with under a minute left. What a series for him so far!

Then there are 22 seconds left and Allan Houston has it at the top of the key guarded by Peja Stojakovic, which is huge for Peja because he was not on the court in crunch time in Game 1. Houston misses the shot, then Bobby Jackson breaks Charlie Ward’s ankles, does a spin move and lays it in to take Game 2.

McConaughey learns about this by watching the sports highlights on the local news when they get back from the restaurant. Did I mention he’s also from Staten Island? There are some holes in this film.

Game 3

What happens here is McConaughey is planning to meet a friend at a bar to watch Game 3, but Hudson says she has tickets for that night. He agrees to go but in a wacky twist, you find out the tickets are to a Celine Dion concert.

This SB Nation piece goes a bit deeper on this, but the main takeaways are that MSG has scheduled a Celine Dion concert and an NBA Finals game on the same night in the same venue.

Also, the New York Knicks have pulled off another bold move here by having Games 1-3 all on their home court. Impressive.

Lastly, judging by the attitude of the fans as they leave the game (while McConaughey and Hudson leave the concert) it seems like the Knicks won.

Knicks up in the series 2-1.

Games 4/5/6

We get almost nothing from these games except for the knowledge as sports fans that they had to have been played. But even that seems like it can’t be guaranteed based on the rest of the movie.

One thing that is related is on Day 9 of the McConaughey-Hudson relationship, he surprises her with tickets to Game 7.

Two things off about this:

1) Hudson says that the game will be on Day 13 of their romance. If Game 1 was on Day 2, this would mean that the 2002 Finals consisted of seven games played in 12 days. The NBA Finals went to seven games in 2005, 2010 and 2013 and all three times the seven games were played in 15 days (it’s almost like this was planned). Playing the full series in 12 days would mean at least 2 games were played back-to-back, which just FYI is not a normal thing!

2) As I said, McConaughey brings out these tickets on Day 9 and Game 7 is on Day 13. If we look again at those seven-game Finals from 05/10/13 we see Game 5 and Game 7 are always four days apart. This means the Knicks are either up 3-1 or tied 2-2 on the day McConaughey is presenting her with the tickets and he seems excited his favorite team might be forced into a do-or-die Game 7 in four days. This is the least plausible part of a movie that’s literally called “How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days.”

Game 7

When McConaughey tells Hudson they are going to Game 7, he gives her a ticket and keeps one for himself. The big reveal of the bet/column happens after this exchange and the seemingly obvious next step is each will use their ticket to individually go to Game 7 and that’s where the reconciliation will occur.

NOPE!

McConaughey doesn’t go and we get to see Hudson watching the tip-off with her friend.

This is all we get about Game 7.

And do you want to know the worst part about this whole thing?

WE NEVER FIND OUT WHO WINS!!!!

This series is the biggest thing to ever happen to McConaughey and there’s not even a mention at the end of what happens. The ending is obviously McConaughey running after her (she’s moving to DC because like NY having all the advertising agencies, DC has all the serious journalism jobs), so how difficult would it have been to have his friends saying either of these lines?

“You have to go after her, you can’t let something worse than the Knicks losing Game 7 happen to you this week.”

OR

“If the Knicks can win Game 7 of the NBA Finals, then you can get her back. Go.”

(See, I told you I know show business)

Terry is from Massachusetts and is a passionate fan of the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins. He also will admit he only pays attention to Syracuse basketball when they're good. If there's a Twitter trade rumor even remotely associated with one of his teams, he's likely fallen for it. Finally, he believes 100% that if the Celtics had beaten the Heat in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals they would have swept the Thunder in the Finals.

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