The 2013 NBA Finals will go down as a classic. Game 6 was clearly the apex with it’s endless amount of memorable moments but last night’s game 7 certainly lived up to the quality of the rest of the series. Both teams looked exactly how many expected: having battled through a crazy series only to settle it all with a final 7th game. The Spurs showed lots of heart all the way to the finish but it was simply Miami’s night and the Heat walked away with the championship trophy. Of course there are things you can point out about the Spurs’ approach and game plan (daring LeBron and Wade to shoot) but it was never a question of effort or wanting it less than the Heat. With less than a minute left in the game and the chance to tie, Duncan missed a shot in the lane that he’s made thousands of times. I found it impossible not feel bad for Duncan after he missed that shot. Uncanny and unfortunate for San Antonio but it was the shot that sealed their fate as the second place team. Manu Ginobili is the easy scapegoat for this loss but Danny Green’s normally efficient shot from behind the arc was nowhere to be found. Also, those were some REALLY questionable play calls by Popovich towards the end of the game. But it’s not all doom and gloom for the Spurs. Well, if Kawhi Leonard can make his free throws, then the young man looks to have all the tools of being a future all-star and potentially a superstar. Nothing but respect from myself and NBA fans around the world for the Spurs in their loss.
Unfortunately for Heat haters around the country (there are a lot) it was Miami’s night, repeating as champions of the NBA and are once again kings of the basketball world. LeBron James was phenomenal (37 pts, 12 reb, 4 ast) and was awarded the Finals MVP for a second straight year. But even though James was the best player on the court last night, Dwyane Wade came up big with his shooting from the floor and Shane Battier got hot from behind the arc to add more scoring. Miami taking advantage of the shooting opportunities given to them was the stuff of champions and it was enough to take home the title. Who’s the happiest about winning the title? Well, obviously the teammates winning their first title but even more that guy named Chris Bosh. Zero points last night Bosh? Are you kidding me? Bosh was clearly going to be the target of all targets to blame had Miami not been able to win last night’ game. Hind sight though, as the celebration continues in South Beach and now going forward the word “dynasty” starts to be thrown around. It’s a little early for that because I think that a team needs to win at least three titles in 4-5 years to be considered a true dynasty. Remember that LeBron was VERY close to being 1-3 in the Finals with another summer of questions so let’s calm down for a second and continue to celebrate or hate on this Miami Heat team. We have all summer to discuss and debate the long term implications.
Where do I even begin to discuss last night’s game? We’ll defer to LeBron James on this one, quoted as saying “It’s by far the best game I’ve ever been a part of,” after his triple-double performance led the Heat to a crazy victory in overtime. As always in these situations, I have to ask: was this more of a Spurs loss or a Heat win? All signs point to the fact that the Spurs had this game, had it on two occasions. First it was during the 3rd quarter, holding a 12 point lead with only 1 minute left in the quarter and a chance to really put a strangle on the game in the 4th. The second time was of course in the final minute following two incredibly clutch plays by Tony Parker who, up to that point, was having a less than stellar game. I thought to myself “Wow…that’s the game, Parker has the MVP” but then all hell broke loose and like the rest of the series, no one could predict what happened. Poor Kawhi Leonard, he had the dunk of the night right over (one shoe) Mike Miller but couldn’t complete the two most important points of the night. Then the game essentially came down to a couple of offensive rebounds by Miami, resulting in massive 3s by both LeBron and Ray Allen. Allen’s 3 to tie the game was the most clutch shot of the year.
From Tim Duncan’s incredible first half (feels like a wasted effort now) to LeBron’s choice to ignore his headband and essentially go beast mode in the 4th quarter. An incredible game all around but a part of me can’t help but feel that it was the Spurs best opportunity to win the series. Can the Spurs win game 7 on the road? History says they can’t, the last time a team to win the NBA title on the road in a game 7 was the Washington Bullets in 1978. But I can’t put anything above this Spurs team. Or above this series because it’s simply been too unpredictable and every game has something new in store for the fans. Neither team can win two in a row. If the Spurs want to win the game, they’re going to have to set the tone early. Oh yeah, Manu Ginobili: stop turning the ball over at the most critical points in the game. Was Ginobili fouled on that final possession in the lane with a couple of seconds left in OT? Probably but I know this league too well to not expect the officials to make a call there. Certainly more of a foul than the Chris Bosh block to the end the game on the desperation 3 by Danny Green. I’m sticking with my prediction (winner of game 6 wins the series) but at the same time, i’ve learned that the sky is the limit for this series.
Can anyone correctly predict what’s going to happen in this series? It’s been back and forth, neither team can win twice in a row. So are things going to change now that the Spurs are one win away? The Spurs looked brilliant on offense last night. Especially towards the end of the 3rd quarter and heading into the 4th when Miami was making their comeback but then the next thing you know, San Antonio is up by nearly 20. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker were great, Danny Green (breaking records) and Kawhi Leonard shot incredibly well but the difference this game was Manu Ginobili. Much like Wade before game 4, Ginobili was facing heavy criticism for being pretty much a non-factor this series. The Spurs shooting guard (back in the starting five) responded with a 24 point, 10 assist performance. Maybe he spoke to Lionel Messi before the game? Whatever the case was, last night Ginobili looked like the all-star guard from the years past.
Miami didn’t have a terrible performance last night, they managed to score over 100 points, but their defense was questionable throughout the game. Ray Allen’s defense on Green was frustrating to watch. And while LeBron had a nice stat line (25 pts, 6 reb, 8 ast), he did look frustrated because the Spurs made it difficult for him to score. So now the burning question is: how will the Heat respond with their back against the wall? Bryan’s Lakers were able to win the title after losing game 5 back in the 2010 Finals but even then, the numbers back the Spurs. Even without the fact that they’re so good at closing out a series on the road. Game 6 has all the makings of a crazy LeBron performance (down 2-3 against Boston last year) because as we’ve seen all year long, Miami is at it’s best after a critical loss. It’s just been so rare to see them lose this often as of late. I’m going with the Spurs because they have the experience and type of team that will close out a series but I can’t wait to see how this Heat team responds on their home court.