There are many stories out there regarding these, here, basketball finals. Some are saying that the Spurs are duller than dishwater and that they deserve no place in the ‘Big Show.’ On the other side of the fence, there are many who are routing for the Celtics to see their glory days return, while still others think the Celtics are a huge long shot and Miami will bring the Heat through the whole darn thing and walk away with it all.
That’s the beauty of sports. I mean, let’s face it, all sports can be extremely boring unless there is that ‘almighty one’ – the player who rises above everyone else to steal the world’s heart. Other times, you need that ‘comeback kid’ who’s name was tossed out as being old and done – yet, he or she comes back, throws on the jersey, and sparks the imagination of millions of fans.
So, are the San Antonio Spurs done? Are they tired, listless, humdrum? Last night as the Western Conference finals began, those boring Spurs seemed to be saying, “In your face,” to the fans out there who truly believe they should be home sitting in rocking chairs darning socks.
Yes, people, they won. And their playoff winning streak is now NINE games. Pretty good for a bunch of guys who are more boring than watching paint dry, huh? Not only was this a win, but it was also one of those wins that bring back images of Seabiscuit, or, for anyone who’s been watching lately, I’ll Have Another – which is the horse that may just win that elusive Triple Crown very, very soon.
The Spurs victory was 101-98, and we are talking a come-from-behind that brought the crowd to their feet, and made the Thunder sort of scratch their heads, wondering if they were really about to find themselves at home when the ‘Big Show’ began.
A man by the name of Manu Ginobili was beyond mesmerizing to watch. Twisting, leaping, fallaway jumpers, midrange floaters – he looked like a one-man circus act and had this absolute mask on his face of pure delight and knowledge that HIS team was going to win.
After three quarters the Spurs trailed by nine, until Splitter and Neal brought the Spurs back in the fourth, giving the crowd a 9-2 run to open the quarter. Frankly, the Spurs are a team – perhaps that’s why they aren’t getting the press or having their names tossed about as pop-culture phenoms just yet. There is no ‘one star’ when it comes to the Spurs, it’s a total group effort so the tabloids haven’t found the ‘individual’ to pick on quite yet. No, there’s no Jordan, or LeBron on the Spurs, but having San Antonio and the Heat slug it out head-to-head would be a truly cool Finals to watch.
Yes…most analysts have already called it to be the Miami Heat against Okalahoma, BUT that may just be the most boring finale in the world. Think about it…I know LeBron and Kevin Durant are the ‘cool’ guys right now, but the NBA finals really need to be revved up a bit. We don’t want those killer stars that take the game and end up on Wheaties boxes in seconds. As a society and a country that’s, let’s face it, falling apart – we need that beauty and camaraderie that comes from a real team; a solid group who have to rely on each other and bust their behinds to take it all. THAT is a championship TEAM.
On the other side of the fence…Miami. Yes, I agree, LeBron James is amazing to watch and he knows it. But even now, when you hear the name ‘Celtics’ you are brought back to a time of sheer magnificence. Are they magnificent now? No. But they have the heart and they have that title background – much like the San Francisco 49ers and what they’re trying to do to resurrect a team that was once ‘the best of the best’ in all of sports.
Come on, even you want to see Larry Bird. You want to see comebacks and rallies and wide eyes when the ones who weren’t supposed to make it head onto the court to prove that they have every right to be there. The Celtics offense today, of course, is not the ‘stellar, star-studded’ team of yesteryear, but they are not exactly ‘done’ when it comes to the Heat. Boston put up 117 points in a game against Miami, they nailed over 75% of their corner threes against them, and in their four face-to-face meetings, Boston shot 66.7 percent on long twos. So I wouldn’t exactly count them out and give the victory to Miami. The Heat do have mouths and they do have LeBron so, they have basically just been “waiting for the playoffs to start.” And, against the Sixers. the Celtics weren’t hitting shots consistently because, they say, of Ray Allen’s ankle injury.
But, just like the Spurs, the Celtics have a team, and they could use every facet of that team to ultimately shine. They have Garnett on the block, and Rondo is not exactly a ‘shlub’ either – he has the ability to mess with the Miami defense.
And that’s what most Celtics fans are worried about. Not LeBron, they are thinking about Miami’s defense that literally sometimes look fantastic and other times look like “The Bad News Bears.” They run all over the place a bit manically and gamble on almost every shot. They force mistakes, they add pressure consistently, and their focus – even when they look as if they are flying by the seat of their pants – is most definitely riveted on the need to win.
Wade and LeBron need to go big or go home, and walking into this with an ego may not be the way to do it. If you look back, the bigger the ego the more Fate seemed to kick those guys in the butt. Wade and Lebron also NEED their team. They need Battier, Miller and others to knock back the Celtics’ shots.
The predictions out there are all pretty much the same. Some say Miami in five, Miami in seven – but it all leads with Miami in. Statisticians say simply that: “Boston’s defense is good, but their offense will not be able to keep up with what the Heat puts on the board.”
Do I believe this? Come on, guys…No! And, why not? Because if we all march into these playoffs with the attitude of: ‘Why bother, it’s already done, we’ll just wait to see the excitement between the Heat and OKC,’ then what’s the point of loving basketball in the first place? Last season is over; this is a new finals – a new day – and there is a very strong aura in the air of ‘magic’ in sports this year.
Perhaps it is some small horse who came out of nowhere and has us all enchanted that makes me believe the ‘it’ teams aren’t as gifted as they think they are. Or, perhaps in this election year, hideous economy, and all the other billions of things we’re dealing with on a day to day basis – we all simply need a miracle.
Maybe…just maybe…the Celtics and Spurs will bring it!
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