Groundhog Day: LeBron's Heat Take Vs. Duncan's Spurs
Even Lance Stephenson had to bow before King James in the end
Well, well, well eighty two regular season games, umpteen playoff games and two conference finals have led up to the last push for the big one.
The NBA Championship! In case you’re apt to thinking you’ve somehow slipped back to June 2013, there will be no need to adjust your HD television sets…those ARE the two very same teams who represented their respective conferences last year, the forever fundamental San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat, who happen to be the defending champions!
From the outside looking in…I’d say the Spurs had a tougher time simply because the West appears so much tougher to navigate than the East. Of course the Heat would probably beg to differ…opponents don’t give out wins like a PTA mom at the school bake sale…every victory is hard fought—okay touché!
No argument from me…the outside looking in perspective I was referring to is specifically from the vantage point of a couch, barstool, or comfy duvet atop an iron sleigh bed!
After a quick 2-0 start, San Antonio seemed to be on cruise control…with a broom in hand…as they not only won the games, they crushed the OKC Thunder. And so the narratives began….a swift series was in the making…just what the seasoned Spurs needed—plenty of rest before they met up with their Eastern conference competitors. But OKC obviously felt the need to return the favor…and used Chesapeake Energy Arena as the backdrop for devastating blows laid upon San Antonio. No doubt, the defensive presence of Serge Ibaka was a big time difference maker.
As Game 5 kicked off…onlookers were hopeful we’d finally get a competitive show of skills—after all, this was the best of the best out of the conference. But as time continued to tick off the clock…clearly, a close game was not in the cards as San Antonio went back to the playbook of the first two games. Not one to give up, I still thought a Game 7 was inevitable as surely the Thunder would take care of home and then head back to San Antonio for a bonafide fight at the Alamo!
Not so much….while Game 6 was by far the best of the series…no more double digit blowouts—this bad boy went to overtime…turns out those extra minutes only prolonged the agony for OKC. Duncan & Company showed exactly why they’ve been a mainstay in the league for better than a decade!!!
On the other side of the conference there literally was never a dull moment. A whole year of waiting for a rematch with Miami could’ve been what led to the Pacers demise even before the playoffs began. But after seeing the antics displayed by Indiana’s Lance Stephenson throughout the six games…I can only imagine how he conducts himself on a daily basis—and none of those images are good! The guy…although talented…is an emotional vampire…sucking the life out of everybody in his vicinity—including but not limited to teammates, coaches, and a Hall of Fame general manager!!
Indiana had their way the first game and Miami undoubtedly missed an opportunity to close things out in the fifth…but the whole feel of the series reminded me of watching one of those animals in the wild documentaries where the predator repeatedly toys with his prey right before having it for a meal!
So here we are at Groundhog Day! San Antonio and their fans are sure hoping no such thing…never mind the fact they had the same Game 7 the Heat did last year…their burden has been trying to shake the feeling of being robbed by Ray Allen’s three in the closing seconds of what looked like another championship ring for the guys in black and silver! By the way Ray…enlisting the assistance of a food taster wouldn’t be a bad idea—at least for the next two weeks or so…just saying…
When it is all said and done I’m going with the Heat in 6. Oh, but I do reserve the right to change it to 5 if a certain San Antonio Spurs player, of French descent, is limited by physical ailments…Merci!