Chapter 55:

The Western Conference Finals


Las Vegas



Odai Beckham Jr didn’t sleep a wink all night. The usually cheerful and gregarious Kobayashi Ichikawa tossed around in worry, fretting for hours at end. The entire team was restive, as the next game would be a serious aberration from their last two games. It would be but anomalous.

Their next opponent would be the man of the skyhook, NBA superstar Lewis Ronald, and the Las Vegas Decks.

He could be the iconoclast to their dreams of victory.

Even Danny Reynolds and Coach Steven Walker seemed to partake of the team’s tension. They tried motivating their team with a speech, which slowly devolved into a harangue. The panic on each and every individual’s face was so egregious that they were sent back to their rooms early.

The fear of elimination was palpable on their faces.


Never before had the western conference finals come under such intense scrutiny by the media and fans. On one side was the favorite team to win the west, the harbingers of absolute destruction and defeat. Led by the best center in the NBA, Lewis Ronald, who was backed by one of the best point-guards, Dillon Francis, Las Vegas wasn’t just a force to be reckoned with. They were a team that would make their opponents curl their tails between their legs and retreat back home.

But, on the other side, were the most exciting team in the league. A team of young bucks led by the man who could fly, Lokesh Kumar. This team had proven each and every NBA analyst wrong and had toppled some of the best teams in the league. The naysayers had to be silent, in fear of being proven wrong again.

Lokesh was backed by long time NBA veteran Danny Reynolds, whose story was now being circulated around the internet as one of the most inspirational story ever. Far from being one of the most disrespected players ever, Dan was not only leading this young team well, he now had the opportunity to lead them to the western conference championship.

And possibly to the NBA championship.

Lewis Ronald was aware of this. He called his second-in-command, Dillon Francis aside.

“Don’t underestimate them, Dillon” he whispered. “Or we’re next on the hit-list!”


Lewis Ronald and Dillon Francis sat up all night watching film of the Houston Spacewalkers and breaking it down.

“Jesus Christ, they’re good!” exclaimed Dillon.

“Touché,” said Lewis. “Not to mention they’re a faster team overall.”

“That Indian fella,” said Dillon. “And Keon Jordan Sr’s kid. Watch out for them, mate!”

“Not just that,” said Lewis. “Danny Reynolds. I’ve known this guy for a while. He just doesn’t miss! That tiny Japanese kid is all yours, Dillon. Don’t ignore him! And finally, that power forward with the braids. He may be our undoing if we don’t guard him hard enough!”


Keon Jordan Jr squared off with Lewis Ronald for the tip-off. Everyone watched with bated breath as the best center in the league jumped against the best upcoming center in the league.

Both centers reached their jump apex at exactly the same time and tried tipping the ball. But, their hands went on either side of the ball, locking it in between their fingers. It wouldn’t go anywhere after that.

“Foul!” yelled the referee. “Houston, number 34! Las Vegas gets possession!”

“WHAT?” roared Keon angrily.

Lewis Ronald was stunned. He panted and heaved a sigh.

“How did he get that high?” he mused. “If it wasn’t for that horrible referee decision, he might’ve won!”

Dillon Francis ran the play and stared down Kobayashi. The Australian then threw a bullet-pass to Lewis Ronald, who found himself being double-teamed by Keon Jordan Jr and Odai Beckham Jr. As usual, he swept the ball in an upward motion from behind him, shooting his signature skyhook.


In another offensive possession for the Decks, Dillon Francis started dribbling his rapid handles. Kobayashi wasn’t even able to follow the speed of his dribbling. Dillon Francis put up a high-arcing three pointer which swished into the net.

Together, the duo of Dillon Francis and Lewis Ronald were indomitable.

They destroyed the Spacewalkers in game 1 and 2.

One more defeat meant the end now.

One more defeat meant a 3-0 lead, and certain elimination.