It’s well documented with any of you that have read this blog for the past 6+ years that I’m a big time Spurs apologist, as they are undoubtedly a ‘team of mine’, and I guess I’m one of the few people out there that absolutely loved the 2005 NBA Finals. Not to mention I harbor amazing memories of the 2003 Finals, since that was the last one I watched with my father, and it ended on June 15, 2003 which was Father’s Day that year. He was also a huge Celtics fan, but just like yours truly, we always enjoyed watching the play of Tim Duncan. Outside of Michael Jordan, Duncan is my all-time favorite basketball player. “The Big Fundamental” absolutely applies. He did everything right. No bullshit, no troubling gripes with other players — just a clean player that led by example and didn’t give a damn about opposing fans booing him since he has always been a professional, stoic individual on the court (while still professional off the court, a lighter joking side to add to his persona).
Since fans never had anything to detract from Duncan’s game, people over the years liked to label the Spurs as ‘boring’, with Duncan being the face of the label. I always figured it was a cop-out to find a way to bring him down a peg. Nonetheless, one of my favorite basketball memories was the way he led the Spurs to game 7’s victory over the Pistons in ’05. His kick-out to Bruce Bowen, the kick-out to Manu Ginobili (both for 3s) and his clutch shots + calm amazed me. Ginobili’s play during that season and especially during those Finals earned him the nickname ‘Obi Wan Ginobili’, and then Tony Parker’s ‘come-out party’ in the 2007 Finals gets him a big thumbs up, too.
Enough of the nuthugging, however.
Heat in 6 (if the champion-prowess Heat that showed up in game 7 vs. the Pacers surfaces).
I can only imagine the Spurs winning this series if:
1.) Tony Parker utilizes the pick-and-rolls like the way he and the Spurs have been. It’s going to be interesting, because the Spurs are arguably the best pick-and-roll team in the NBA with the Heat having possibly the best pick-and-roll defense in the NBA. Parker is an animal at coming off the screen and hitting a pull-up jumper or hitting Duncan or Splitter with the bounce pass for a possible high percentage basket. I’m excited for this matchup.
2.) Spread the ball around! Around-the-world style passing… the only way to really dominate the Heat’s defense aside from taking advantage of the inside. Get them discombobulated.
3.) Shut the roleplayers down… let LeBron get his 30+. This will hinge on Wade and/or Bosh to step up or Haslem to knock down those mid-range baseline jump shots.
But despite my affinity for the Spurs and scepticism of the Heat, I’m still picking Miami in 5 or 6.
Last year, the Thunder came in with heavy hype and the Heat put them away in five. We’ll see. The Spurs had an easy road for the most part. They faced the prehistoric Lakers, a YOUNG — YOUNG! — Warriors team, and destroyed Memphis with the pick-and-roll offense (although the Memphis series was a sweep, it was closer than the series indicated in individual games outside of game 1).