A few nights later, Blalock is back in action against Miami at the 18,500-seat Thomas & Mack Center. It's the last game of the night and the buzz is completely gone. He's playing in front of a couple hundred half-interested folks, Dickerson and Brown among them, and there's a spooky, soul-crushing ambiance in the nearly deserted arena. Opportunity is opportunity.
All the Warriors have to do to finish it off is get the ball inbounds and make a couple of free throws. Blalock is the inbounder, but the Heat decide not to guard him and his defender is turned away from the play, a rookie mistake. Seeing this, he whips the ball off the unsuspecting player's back, picks it up himself and gets fouled.
Blalock's coach buries his head in his hands but emerges with a huge grin on his face. His teammates pat him on the head. Dickerson is up on his feet, relieved that his little brother's gamble has paid off. The only one unaffected by the chaos is Will, who steps to the line and calmly makes both free throws.
Ultimately, Blalock chose security over opportunity, signing a one-year contract with the Townsville Crocodiles in Australia. He thought about taking another run at the NBA, but after talking to the Crocs coach, Gleeson Taylor, he felt like he finally found the right situation. The team finished third in Australia's National Basketball League last year, and Taylor convinced Blalock that he was the missing piece.
"He was straightforward with me and said he was looking for what I do: lead guard and a vocal leader on the court," says Blalock.
He had to go halfway around the world, but maybe, just maybe, Will Blalock has finally found a basketball home.
Paul Flannery covers the Celtics for weei.com and teaches journalism at Boston University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.