|This is what it’s all about|
|Thursday, June 20, 2013 12:18 AM|
By JIM METCALFE
As Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was quoted after Tuesday night’s overtime victory over San Antonio in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, the two best words of a 7-game series is upon us today: Game 7!
It has befixed and befuddled me throughout this series as to how many times either the Spurs were considered too old and feeble — done! — or the Heat were ready to be broken up because Chris Bosh was playing horribly and Dwayne Wade was done physically.
I have never seen as many “hands” — as in on one hand … and on the other … in all my born days.
Did anyone NOT think this was going to be the case?
Let’s look at the start of the series: Miami had beaten a much-overmatched Milwaukee Bucks team (these are not the days of Lew Alcindor!) and then they got a clear blessing by playing a Derek Rose-less — and during the series, a Luol Dang and Joachim Noah-less — Chicago Bulls team.
They were extended to seven games by the Indiana Pacers and their tag-team of big men in Roy Hibbert and David West that gave the undersized Heat a dickens of a problem.
That brings them to the Spurs, who have some legit big men to contend with, especially Tim Duncan.
The Spurs swept the Grizzlies — a team that presented its own matchup problems with its big men of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph and had been blessed to beat an Oklahoma City franchise without star point guard Russell Westbrook.
For a while, one wonder if the Spurs would be healthy enough to get this far — again, to the benefit of the Heat — but they are.
Personally, I have not watched many minutes of this series but I have watched the aftermath — the pundits, analysts and such — and it’s been kind of funny.
If the Heat don’t win, many are saying this mars LeBron’s legacy because he will be 1-3 in the championship round — as well as the Big Three’s legacy because they will be 1-2 together.
LeBron is considered the best player on the planet and has been for the past few seasons, so I really don’t see that legacy tarnished.
If he loses tonight, there is something to be written on that because the great players in the NBA haven’t necessarily been stacked up by how many individual points/rebounds, etc., they have but how many rings.
On the other hand — no pun intended! — if the Spurs lose, this may very well be the swan song of their Big Three in Duncan, 36-year-old (and playing like HE is done!) Manu Ginobili and ring-leader Tony Parker. This may be Duncan’s last legitimate chance at a ring because he rides off into the sunset.
Who has the most pressure in this regard? Duncan because Father Time is not on his side and he already has his recognition as the greatest power forward in NBA history.
However, I think LeBron may have the most pressure overall because of the promises that were made of multiple (more than 2 or 3) titles when he and Bosh signed on and with the possibility — at least he has talked about it — he will return to Cleveland next summer.
Personally, my head and my heart are rooting for the Spurs — not because I dislike LeBron and Company but because of my utmost respect for The Big Fundamental. He has quietly and efficiently become a unanimous first-ballot Hall-of-Famer by letting his play do all the talking.
He didn’t have to point to himself or act like he was the big cheese when he made plays but acted like he’d been there before and would be again; I like that.
Expect Wade, Bosh, Manu and the rest to be at the top of their games for this winner-take-all.
I don’t have as big of a mea culpa this week.
I wrote that Lance Kiffin was the head football coach at the University of Southern California.
It actually is Lane Kiffin.