The game of the night last night was in Dallas, Texas, where the Mavericks had their five-game winning streak snapped in a 111-103 loss to Monta Ellis, Anthony Morrow, Vladimir Radmanovich, Stephen Curry, Mikki Moore, and Anthony Randolph.
And... that's it.
It was the first time since 1982 that a pro hoops squad, in this case the Golden State Warriors, played only six players.
Golden State did not choose purposefully to play shorthanded against one of the top teams in the NBA. The team found themselves short six players due to injury or illness. Head coach Don Nelson missed the game, too; he was dealing with pneumonia.
So what did Golden State do? They signed Chris Hunter from the D-League to give them the minimum of eight players in uniform in order to avoid a forfeit.
Then the Warriors lived up to their monicker.
Ellis (37 points, 8 assists), Morrow (27 points, 9 rebounds), and Radmanovich (14 points, 12 rebounds) all played the full 48 minutes. The last time three teammates played the full monty? 1952. Meanwhile, Curry, Moore, and Randolph each played at least 30 minutes.
It should be mentioned that the Southwest Division-leading Mavs were not exactly at full strength themselves, missing starters Shawn Marion, Erick Dampier, and Josh Howard due to injury and losing Quinton Ross for the entirety of the second half due to a tight lower back. Still, not much of a comparison to what the Warriors battled through.
Golden State's next game? Tonight, against the professional, powerful San Antonio Spurs.
This is the way of professional sports. No sympathy, no let-up, no quarter. What is good today may go sour tomorrow.
Still, there will forever be those brief moments when determination triumphs and inspiration takes root, available on a daily basis if you only know where to look.