David Stern’s (Wet) Dream… Thoughts on a Thrilling Spurs/Miami Series, LeBron, Ginobli ~CleMMzForrester

Thoughts on a Thrilling NBA Final 2013 Spurs/Miami Series, LeBron James & Manu Ginobli

credit: TheBoxHouston.com

4 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter, Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals…

 the San Antonio Spurs are 13 points ahead of the Miami Heat with less than 4 minutes to go. It looked like just enough of a lead for the Spurs to steal the series with some steady play and weathering the storm down the stretch.

28 Seconds to go, the Spurs are still 5 points ahead, and it appears they will easily finish off an excellent game fueled by Tim Duncan‘s best game of the series.

So far, so good.

The arena folks start preparing the celebrations for the NBA 2013 Champions San Antonio Spurs.

It’s a done deal, right?

Miami Heat fans start streaming out of the arena, disgusted with their worthless team, worthless LeBron, non-contributing Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade who who missed 16 shots between them.

There is absolute mayhem on Facebook and twitter. “Brand new Spurs fans” proclaim the greatness of “their team”, “brand new Heat Fans” lambast “the Heat” team and start turning their attention to thinking about which team will be “their team” next season. All kinds of crazy talk

They should just blow up the Heat roster, this Big Three experiment is just not working. Bosh is a dud, Wade and LeBron can’t play together, who wins title without a legit big man anyway?… Congrats Spurs, Tim Duncan and Greg Popovich are the best, Spurs is the better team, this was a great series…

Meanwhile on the court, where a game was still being played…

Miami fouls Kawhi Leonard, he misses a free throw.

4 point game.

Popovich, Spurs coach, took  Tim Duncan out of the game to focus on preventing a 3 point shot, since they don’t believe in fouling the Heat to restrict them to a maximum of two free throws,

The ball goes to LeBron, who attempts a three pointer to tie it… Ball hits the rim.

With Duncan out of the game, the rebound goes to a Heat Player who gets it to LeBron. Second 3 point attempt…  Money.

2 point game

Manu Ginobli is fouled, he misses a free throw.

3 point game. 13 seconds to go

The ball swings to LeBron, he rises for a three pointer at the top of the key. Off target.

10 seconds to go

Duncan is still on the bench so there’s no one to prevent Chris Bosh getting the rebound.

8 seconds to go

Bosh finds the greatest 3 pointer in NBA history, Ray Allen, who is at the moment worthless to the cause as he is 6 feet from the basket and can only cut the deficit to 1, not tie it as they need. Based on what transpired next, it’s probably more fitting to call Ray Allen by his nickname Jesus Shuttlesworth at this point, as only Jesus (or the previous best three point shooter in NBA history, Reggie Miller) would  had the presence of mind in that pressure-cooker of a game to take not one, not two, but three quick steps backwards out to the corner 3 point line. Multiple Spurs rush out to close the distance as he is backpedaling and contest the shot.

 Too late.

Swish…

Without this Ray Allen Three, Spurs are 2013 Champs
(from gamedayr.com)

 

With no timeouts, Tony Parker has 5.2 seconds to get the ball up the court with LeBron James all over him. He has no option but to attempt a difficult, off-balance shot.

LeBron completes his triple-double and the Heat escape, the reward a game 7 at home in which they would have to be favourites.

Game 7.

Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Mike Miller, all heroes from Game 6 combine for ZERO points from 14 shots. Dwyane Wade needs 21 shots to make 23 points. Chalmers needs 15 shots to make 14 points.

Spurs won, right?

Well, Shane Battier only needed 8 shot to make 18 points. It helps when your shots come in threes.

We said Spurs’ “big three” had to play bigger than the Heat big three in my previous post on the series, to have a shot at winning, especially after Ginobli pissed away their excellent chances in game 6. Tony Parker was the Big three stinker in this game, and Ginobli didn’t take up as much of the slack as required or improve in his personal battle with turnovers. Duncan had a chance to tie down the stretch, but based on all of this, one would ask this question

What about LeBron James? The stage seems to be set for him… did he step up to the plate? Did Spurs D take him out of the game?

No.

Greg Popovich considered LeBron’s many talents and vast skillset and concluded he was less likely to suffer from a LeBron James taking jumpshots and three pointers than one wreaking havoc in the paint and finding Miami’s deadly shooters. This strategy had worked well for the Spurs as James had been very hesitant, tentative and reluctant to take those shots. Incindentally this was the same strategy Spurs had employed to good effect the last time Spurs had swept LeBron in the finals to win their last title.

You know how the stories go when a big kid being bullied everyday suddenly realises he’s actually bigger than the boys bullying him? Not good for the bullies.

It was kinda like that when LeBron finally decided that the disrespect had to stop.

How dare Spurs give me so much room to shoot? Not even a contest?

When the smoke cleared (well, actually, by the time they turned on the smoke machine and dropped the streamers and started the Miami Heat Victory celebrations), LeBron had gone off on Spurs with 37 points on 52% shooting (including 5 three pointers at 50%), 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers shooting. This was while contributing in other ways as he had done throughout the playoffs, restricting Tony Parker to ZERO 2nd half points. Not bad way to seal your second straight Finals MVP Finals Trophy to add to the regular season versions.

Beyond David Stern’s Wildest (Wet) Dreams

Heat vs Spurs was a must-see series and one of the few I’ve watched so much of without my Lakers being involved. Between Tuesday night, when it became apparent that there would be a game 7, and Thursday night, NBA commissioner must have had a wet dream every time he took a nap thinking about the ratings the Boring Spurs and the Heat were pulling. As one of those contributing to that number, let me say

” Congratulations Spurs, Heat… Well Done”

You both provided neutrals and basketball fans alike with great drama and entertainment. I absolutely enjoyed the twists and turns.

Back to Back Champs (from NBA.com)

Verdict: Miami

It is no secret, Miami was the more athletic, younger, more energetic team and had the best player and more bench options. As such, Spurs had a much smaller margin of error and had to play much closer to their best as a team to have a shot at winning. They mitigated against their lack of a true center with a very good team ethic, commitment to defense and making use of the super-talented LeBron James. Miami are built to win multiple championships as long as James is there. To make a 4th trip to the finals in 4 years, however, they might look to replace Bosh with a proper center as there is no room for him offensively with James and Wade doing the  bulk of the scoring in the paint. He does a decent defensive job against smaller players, but he’s no match for real centers.

Verdict: Spurs

Being within 28 seconds of a title in game 6 and Duncan missing layups to tie Game 7 with 47 seconds to go, Sbe in a great position to win was far more than most pundits would have envisioned. As such, Spurs exceeded expectations.Spurs have dropped the usual “Boring” adjective and delivered on their fair share of the thrills and entertainment value. New talents came to the fore – the promising Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and the role players delivered, all the way down to Boris Diaw who defended James admirably for long stretches of the series.

They will need to replace Ginobli and get in an understudy for Duncan, the same way Duncan came in and had an opportunity to learn from David Robinson. Splitter is ok, Diaw is ok, but they will need to replace Duncan’s production and get in another playmaker alongside Parker.

Back to back Champ (from SBNation.com)

And now for the LeBron Discussion

LeBron exorcised some of the demons that must have haunted him since Spurs embarassed and showed up his weakness in the 2007 Finals by leaving him open to take whatever outside shot he wanted to take. They almost succeeded in this series, so his game 7 outburst must have been a huge relief. It didn’t happen by mistake though. James has been working on his shooting since then, steadily improving year after year, although, obviously, he has been so successful at driving to the basket that he has rarely had to rely on it. When he has had to, he has had pretty good success this season, going through a historically good stretch of shooting at one point. HE received much criticism in the losses in this and other series but all I have to say is…

Stop with the #LeBron bashing & harping on his “mistakes” as a young man

Who doesn’t make mistakes? Holy Grail Michael Jordan had to lose before he won, so did Shaq, So did Kobe, so did Magic, so did Dr J, and they all made mistakes off the court (well, maybe not Dr J, but you get the point) so just stop.

Having had the privilege of watching this dude since high school, his first NBA game, his progress over the years, my only criticism has been that

he probably doesn’t know how good he is…

But that’s a good thing…his strength is his weakness as he sticks by the team, and really tries to be one of the guys although they all know he isn’t. He’s the best all-round player in the NBA. No question. This guy has the potential to fulfilwhat Magic Johnson wasn’t able to do because of early retirement, with greater potential on the defensive side of the ball. LeBron has the potential to be in the ALL-NBA first team and defensive team as in this small-ball NBA he can play and guard all 5 positions (dude is probably the only person who locked down Tony Parker in 3 years). Jordan and Kobe had/have a limit with size, Kareem, Wilt, etc had a limit with quickness. LeBron has none of those limitations in today’s NBA that is trending towards “small ball”, with many teams playing without a legitimate big man.

The future is bright as he has a lot of room for improvement.

  • As a leader and becoming mentally stronger, this regular season and playoff run has gone a long way in that regard. A great moment for me was when he said to the media, you can second-guess me all you want but I’m not listening to or playing for you guys”. The finished product will be special, as he is someone who tries to play the right way and is a good team player
  • Improving his post play will add a lot to his offensive repertoire and allow Miami to be effective in the half-court game
  • Improving his mid-range three point shooting  This used to be a very weak part of his game but over the years he has systematically added to his aspect f his game, so in two years I expect the reluctance to take the jumpshots will be gone. He will know his spots and not hesitate when the opportunities present themselves.
  • Defensively he is already among the best in the league and probably the most flexible at guarding multiple positions. The improvement needed is mostly mental
  • Decision-making and ablity to impact games will be huge for him in a year or two. No one in the league now has the range of talent and skillset to impact a game in so many ways – rebounding, scoring, assists, playmaking, defensively, ball handling and point guard play. Being this good entering the prime of his career augurs very well for him

Verdict: LeBron

If he is committed to becoming the best ever, he could achieve it. No one in the history of the game since Bill Russell has this potential because of his unusual combination of size, power and quickness. The closest we’ve seen is Magic Johnson and he’s a believer. By the numbers, LeBron is actually on pace to surpass Michael Jordan in terms of points and individual/team accomplishments. Anyway for me, the gold standard is Bill Russell, not Jordan.

Injury, forced retirement or a lack of hunger are the only things that I can see stopping LeBron as an individual, and he has also learnt how to impact the game in the right way at the right time to make the game better… no one has his skillset in one body… opposing coaches’ nightmare, opposing teams’ nightmare, and it’s only going to get worse. Watch it, MJ, two rings and he is nowhere near the finished product.

@CleMMzForrester, 20130621

About ClemmzForrester

To know me is to know me

Posted on June 21, 2013, in Basketball, Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I would definitely read your work, if you were a sports writer. I just finished reading this extremely long blog post and remained interested all the way through.

    • Thanks for reading hun, I know it takes some patience! If i was being paid to or had to write for people, i’d definitely have to keep these shorter lol. Since i’m just writing my thoughts, and it’s my blog, I just write as much as I feel like sharing in one go. Maybe if i updated it more often, I could keep them short…

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