That dude wearing a Golden State Warriors jersey is super psyched right now because the Miami Heat on Thursday night defended their NBA crown by besting the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of The Finals.
Oy. Neither TV nor Fury really want to relive it given our proclivity for hating the Heat, but … we’re going to discuss it anyway. Because we’re pros like that.
TV: Honestly, I was resigned to this outcome for the last two days for several reasons – the crushing nature of Game 6, the home-team record in Game 7s and the fact that LeBron James plays for the opposition.
Sure, the Spurs are good enough and veteran enough to perhaps – perhaps – overcome all of that. But they’d need to shoot from the perimeter. They’d need to get offensive contributions from secondary players. And it didn’t happen. Plus, they were sloppy with the ball and didn’t execute in the half-court down the stretch, from the Manu turnover to the Duncan miss at the rim.
To that end, can you imagine being Duncan tonight? He might wake up with a hole in his chest, his blood turning acidic with disappointment … if he can fall asleep at all.
Fury: I’ve had better birthdays than watching the Heat win a title, but as a fan of the NBA and basketball it was impossible to really be too disappointed. And yes, I say that while realizing Wade and Ray Allen are celebrating. Great series and it almost had to end that way, although I only came to that conclusion once it actually finished. The proud, veteran team hanging in there, hanging in there, physically aging before our eyes, finally done in by the best player in the world. Of course if the Spurs had grabbed a rebound one game earlier, it doesn’t end that way at all.
LeBron was everything you’d want and ultimately he’s just such a force of nature that victory seems inevitable, resistance is futile and I just hope those same feelings exist when he signs with the Lakers. It was hard seeing Manu go out like that, maybe for good, looking like some guy in rec league who was good 20 years ago but now comes up there with his kids and stumbles around. I’m not going to go too nuts over LeBron’s defense on Parker, considering his hamstring issues. And Duncan’s final misses…But I think the Spurs will be okay, which maybe you saw after the game with Popovich’s reaction, hugging any Heat player in sight. Seth Wickersham made a great note on Twitter. Next time people compare Belichick and Popovich for their grumpiness, show clips of Belichick sprinting off the field at the end of the Super Bowl losses and then show Popovich, the ultimate coach who’s only known success, showing such grace in defeat.
TV: The best thing about the Heat winning another title means that a new tradition has started: Twitter being flooded with crazy/vaguely dirty pics of Chris Bosh celebrating. It really is a tradition unlike any other.
How about the Big Dinosaur putting up a goose egg and still coming away with another ring? And the fantastic, stoic Kawhi Leonard leaves with bupkis. Team sports can be cruel like that.
As I write, I’m watching the post-game coverage on ESPN. It’s … yuck. Why does Magic Johnson – Fury’s guy – think that live television is the appropriate format to heap sappy and personal praise on players he’s “interviewing”? That’s one reason I hope the non-player analyst doesn’t go extinct. (Insert Bosh joke here.)
Fury: I think I’m on record as dreading everything Magic has said in a studio setting since the Magic Johnson talk show debuted. He’s not a good analyst. Will I now google YouTube clips of him passing to help soothe the pain? Yes.
Ultimately these Finals were everything we were hoping for going in. Remember when we were young and people were talking about Danny Green as series MVP? Things changed. There were a few too many blowouts but it was hard to ask for much more.
Tonight again showed what we’ve talked about before. LeBron is the constant for the Heat. And Wade had a good game. But as many games as the Big Three have dominated the last few years, it’s always an Other Guy who is the other killer. Tonight? Battier. Battier? Battier. The guy who didn’t play for like two weeks. During this downtime, I picture Battier being a guy who works for one of those shady websites, writing college papers about the industrial revolution for students for like 200 bucks a pop. Ray Allen the other night, the Birdman in previous series and of course Mike Miller and Chalmers. Can the Heat reload with more of those guys next year? Going to four straight Finals hasn’t been done since the Celtics in the 1980s so it will be fascinating to see if the Heat can do it again next year. LeBron will be LeBron but who will be there with him?
My only thing with LeBron is almost a backlash to the backlash to the backlash. Online the past two weeks was a big drive to mock any attempt to put a narrative on his “legacy.” But it was only really used when people talked about the possibility of the Heat losing. “Don’t judge! Big picture! Unfair!” And I agreed completely with those. But many of the people who wrote those things are the same ones who are eager to rank him with the greatest in history if he wins, and yes there are plenty of people who are willing to say he’s already as good as Jordan or Magic, Bird, Kobe, Russell, whoever. And maybe he is. But why’s it okay then to talk legacy? Basically I wish I could just watch him and Kobe and so many others in a vacuum, enjoying them for what they are, not for what they are not (thank you, Norman Dale). He is an all-timer but there are holes in his resume (the 2011 Finals, just like the 1984 Finals are a mark against Magic) and some weaknesses in his game still. Saying that doesn’t make you Skip Bayless. That said, he’s a four-time MVP. He’s now a two-time champion. He dominates on offense and defense. He gives a full effort every time out. He’s physically unlike anyone who’s ever played. He’s unselfish. All of those would be true if the Spurs had grabbed one more rebound in Game 6. All of them but being a two-time champion. Damn it.
TV: Totally agree. That’s the problem with the 24-hour news cycle: Everybody has to have an opinion on everything at every time. (Get off my lawn!)
And as long as I’m ranting, what’s the deal with those Heat hats? (In Seinfeld voice.) They’re snap-backs, flat-bills and made to flip up. I’m too square to wear a hat that has any of those features, let alone all of them.
Quick Magic update: He just called Wade the most unselfish person on the planet. Seriously.
To your point about how easily this series could have gone the other way … Do the Heat win this title if somebody else signed Birdman? He was an unemployed free agent much of the season. Do the Spurs make the Finals if Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook doesn’t get hurt when calling a timeout early in the playoffs? Might the Big Three be broken up despite this championship outcome in light of how bad Bosh was much of this series?
Questions like that underscore the delicate nature of a season and a series – it’s part of why we love the NBA. Now, bring on the draft.