The No. 2-seed Shazam! earned a trip to the semi-finals by eking out a win over the Purple Gang From PHX, while the No. 3-seed Majerle's Mavens dispatched the Cotton Express with authority to advance. The two squads met with a trip to the finals on the line.
Shortly after tipoff, it became clear that Joe Johnson would be a bear for the opposing Majerle's Mavens defense. His 16 first-quarter points on 6-for-8 shooting matched the 16-point lead that Shazam! built during the opening stanza. Johnson cooled down in the second quarter, scoring just one point, but Shazam! still claimed a 61-50 halftime advantage.
Majerle's Mavens scored the first 10 points of the second half and made clear their intention of giving Shazam! a game. By the end of the third quarter, an 11-point Shazam! lead had been cut to four. Majerle's Mavens finally surpassed Shazam! on two Jeff Hornacek free throws with 1:31 remaining for a 108-106 edge. It was the team's first lead since a 2-0 advantage one minute into the game.
Shazam! responded with a three-point play from Charles Barkley and a bank shot from Marcin Gortat, but Hornacek rebutted each with jumpers of his own. Hornacek put his team ahead for good with 22 seconds left as Barkley was unable to connect on the other end. Majerle's Mavens completed the 112-111 rally.
Hornacek finished with 21 points and six rebounds, scoring the last six points for Majerle's Mavens. The team received yet another virtuoso performance from Shawn Marion as he notched 25 points, nine rebounds and four swipes, leading his club in all three categories. Though lining up at center, Boris Diaw led Majerle's Mavens in assists with eight. The versatile Frenchman added six points and seven rebounds. Channing Frye provided punch off the bench. The stretch four scored 11 points, including three makes from behind the arch.
Barkley had an impressive stat line in the loss with 24 points, 19 boards and seven assists, but coughed the ball up six times. Johnson finished with 25 points on 9-for-12 shooting, including three long balls. Gail Goodrich added 11 points and 10 assists, but shot 5-for-14 from the field. Gortat chipped in 19 points, but was ineffective on the glass, grabbing just three rebounds.
Rosters:Majerle's Mavens (GM: Dan Hilton) - Shazam! (GM: Al McCoy)
Player of the game:Shawn Marion (25 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals)
Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations:Marjerle's Mavens 62.7% - Shazam! 37.3%
Average Score of 1,001 Simulations:Marjerle's Mavens 111.9 - Shazam! 107.8
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