Throughout these playoffs, the Miami Heat have been the big-bad bully going through the motions en route to another NBA title and the ultimate validation for the world’s greatest player.
After meeting the Tony Parker and Tim Duncan –led Spurs in game 1 of the NBA Finals, it’s clear San Antonio has some hand skills as well, and they took it to the defending champs blow-for blow on Thursday night.
The Fountain of Youth is on full display in this series. It’s like San Antonio has called in a divine favor and a stay of youthful execution. Duncan’s 20 points and 14 boards were reminiscent of his NBA Finals performances of yesteryear. Ginobili (13 points) is getting in where he fits in, but the impact of Danny Green (4 treys) has alleviated the starting line-up and actually infused some energy in the Spurs attack.
Since they swept the Lakers in the first round, doubters have been waiting for the “old” Spurs to collapse on their canes and get wheeled out of the arena, as they did in previous years.
It hasn’t happened yet and with every game played, the Spurs are looking just as much a team of destiny as Miami.
Handling LBJ & Co. at home the way that they did also puts the momentum in San Antonio’s favor and more than anything, sends a mental message to the Heat that they are in for a dog fight.
The game started out with five ties and four lead changes in the first quarter and the Spurs were at their best when Duncan was on the court. He got in some early foul trouble, which in the past would really hurt the Spurs, but this is shaping up to be Parker’s series.
He’s been an integral piece of past Spurs championships, but as evidenced by his pivotal role in Game1, he will have to be the lead gunner throughout this series and continue to exploit Wade’s limited game and the remaining Heat backcourt’s limited talent.
With every deft performance and relentless basket-rush, Parker is solidifying his status as a Top 5 point guard in the league. His name might not be mentioned amongst the greats during the 82-game regular season, but his 23.0 ppg playoff average this season is proof of his magnificence in major moments.
Miami’s been used to crushing dreams and snatching kids’ lunch money for too long. The Spurs didn’t even have to knock them out to get their dough back.
The series is far from over and if the first game was any indication, it could be one for the ages. If people wanted this series to be a simple coronation, it’s obvious the Spurs have other ideas. The difference will be the fourth quarter, where in Game 1 San Antonio’s by-committee onslaught had more in the tank than Miami’s one-man wrecking crew. Despite LeBron’s triple-double, come crunch time, Parker was the best player on the court. The scary part for Miami is that San Antonio never really had to turn it up to snatch this game. They played basic, Pop-style Spurs ball, matching the Heat’s athleticism with rock movement and precision shooting.
The next win will be the Big Three’s 100th playoff win together. They are the anti-Heat; a team of guys who created great chemistry through trial and tribulation over a period of time. Not a mercenary group comprised to back door a championship. Whereas LBJ once held all the favor, it seems the basketball Gods are shining on the Spurs now.