The Round Mound in the Heavens

Two overwhelming talents collide in the N.B.A. finals

Earth and air are the two unvarying components in any basketball game -- which is to say, flesh and spirit. No-look passes and jump shots are the feathers of the game; offensive rebounds and blocking out are the hard muscle underneath.

As the Phoenix Suns and the Chicago Bulls meet in the finals of the National Basketball Association play-offs this week, in a squaring-off of styles that the nation's sports fans have been anticipating all season, the collision of immovable force and irresistible object will be more reverberant than ever before. For despite the presence of two dozen redwoods in uniforms,...

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