Friday, June 21, 2013

Heat 95 Spurs 88 Heat win series 4-3

8 Thoughts (special championship edition)

1) Champs. Again.

2) How you like this team now, world? How you like this team now? I like it alright. Lemme tell you about it: LeBron James? Love you forever, boy. Chris Bosh? Love you forever, boy. Mike Mil-lar? Love you forever, boy. Shane Battier? Love you forever, boy. Mario Chalmers? Love you forever, boy. Udonis Haslem? Love you forever, boy. Norris Cole? Love you forever, boy. Chris Anderson? Love you forever, boy. Walter Ray Allen? Already loved you forever. Love you even more forever now. Biggest shot in the history of this league by the greatest shooter ever. James Jones? Love you forever, boy. Joel Anthony? Love you forever, boy. Rashard Lewis, Juwan Howard, and Jarvis Tornado? You were on the team. Nahhhh, love you forever, too, COME ON, STAND UP, GET THE HECK UP, EVERYBODY SAID WE COULDN'T DO IT, BUT WE DID, AGAIN, BIG-TIME - WHO GOT THE JUICE NOW, BOY, WHO GOT THE JUICE NOW!!! COME ONNN, ONE LAST TIME THIS SEASON: LETTTTTT!!!! IT!!!!!! FLYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3) I think everyone who reads this blog on a regular basis is pretty well aware that this is not the type of blog where we do research, or back up assertions with factual evidence of any kind whatsoever.  Seems like a waste of time, frankly.  So I'm just going to go ahead and proclaim that LeBron James just played the best Game 7 in NBA Finals history.  Which, considering the circumstances, pretty much makes it the best played game in NBA history, frankly.  And, yes, I'm calling him LeBron.  Seems like it's time, feels like he's earned that.  LeBron scored 37 points tonight on 12-23.  All series long the Spurs - athletically undermanned - dared him to shoot jumpers.  LeBron struggled early in the series, after being one of the best shooters in the league all season long - it was eerie.  There was this strange storyline that somehow Kawhi Leonard was shutting him down, when all he was doing was playing 8 feet off LeBron, daring him to shoot, with one of the greatest defenders in NBA history, Tim Duncan, backing him up at the rim.  No knock on Kawhi Leonard, by the way - he was fabulous in this series (hey, Pacers: how's that Kawhi Leonard for George Hill (!) trade looking now?  Oops!).  Tonight LeBron looked Leonard in the eye, and in a way, looked every critic he's ever had in the eye, and knocked down jumpers all night.  He made 5-10 triples, 12-23 overall, all 8 free throws, and hit the biggest shot of the game, a pullup off the dribble over Leonard with 27 seconds to go.  But even all that didn't make it the best game.  He also took the Spurs best player, Tony Parker, defensively almost all night long, and one game after holding Parker to a 6-23, he harassed him into a 3-12 for 10 points with only 4 assists tonight.  He played an incredible offensive game; he played an incredible defensive game.  Oh, he also grabbed 12 rebounds, had 4 assists, and 2 steals.  Moments don't get any bigger; and nobody has ever played bigger in the moment.  He's the King.  He's the best basketball player I've ever seen.

4) How good is my dad, Pat Riley?  And, also, his helpers, Mr. Arison, and Coach Spo?  My dad - he didn't stop when he signed LeBron and Bosh as free agents.   He figured out a way to put supporting pieces around them, fitting salaries, egos, and skill sets together like an intricate jigsaw puzzle.  We've said it a million times since this team came together: when you have a player like LeBron James, who can do everything, you just need role players who can do something.  LeBron will figure out a way to utilize those specialists' skills, and do the stuff they can't do.  Riles was smart enought to figure this out.  It's such a mature, veteran group Riles put around him: for example, Mike Miller stepped into a starting role in the Finals and spaced the floor.  But on a night like tonight, when his shot was not falling, there was a Plan B: Shane Battier.  Back from his "Reverse Battier" (last season missed every shot in the regular season, made every shot in the playoffs; this year, made every shot all season, missed every one in the playoffs) just in time to make 6-8 (are you kidding me?) triples (one game after going 3-4).  Last year it was Miller making 7 threes in the title game.  Both those signings look pretty good.  And Riles snagged Walter Ray Allen, who only made the biggest shot in the history of the league in Game 6.  He went scoreless tonight, but another Riles guy, the much maligned Mario "Emcee" Chalmers, scored 14 - that's 34 total in back-to-back elimination games for Emcee.  He played 40 minutes tonight - that's wayyy past his pay grade, generally, but they needed his quickness, and dare I say it, savvy on the perimeter to help limit the Spurs three point shooters.  It worked, they only went 6-19.  Add in the Birdman signing (had to play 5 extra minutes tonight with Bosh's foul trouble), and Norris Cole's big moments during the playoffs, and I'd say my dad did a fairly solid job.  Group was so versitile, with so many ways to hurt you.  Could play fast, could play slow.  Could outscore you, could shut you down on defense.   Back-to-back titles is pretty good.  Pretty, pretty good.

5) Play of the game.  There were so many immense plays over the last two ballgames - picking one out is kind of ridiculous.  But no one is ever really going to talk about this one, and it was the moment that excited me the most.  After LeBron's aforementioned jumper over Leonard to put the Heat up 4 with 30 seconds to go, the Spurs called timeout to give it one last try.  LeBron had so thoroughly eliminated Parker over the last two games that Coach Pop decided to sit him down - I was stunned when the Spurs re-took the court after the timeout without Parker, which is exactly the reaction I'm sure Pop hoped to elicit from the Heat.  He wanted to discombobulate them, and scramble the matchups.  LeBron took Ginobili, with the ball, on the wing, and Duncan was guarded by Bosh down on the block as the Spurs set up a (timeless) two man game.  Chris was scoreless in this game.  He was also in foul trouble all night long, on a series of very questionable calls, culminating with a phantom whistle "and one" foul on Duncan that cut a 6 point lead to 3 with 3 minutes to go...Ginobili took off with the ball, rocketing a step in front of LeBron on the initial burst.  All series long, Bosh, trying to fight over Duncan to front him, had been caught on the high side on plays like this.  Duncan would seal Bosh up the lane, and the driver would have a free lane for a layup.  Not this time, though - Bosh sniffed it out.  He went under Duncan's screen to the baseline, cutting off Ginobili and pinning him on the baseline, out of control, and with nowhere to go.  LeBron saw Bosh cut the drive off, let Ginobili go, and slid in front of Duncan.  As I screamed in joy, "Bosh sniffed it out!  Bosh sniffed it out!" Ginobili, with no options other than to dribble the ball into the crowd (which he tried to do last game before Ray stripped him), flipped the ball back towards Duncan, but LeBron, standing right there, intercepted it, got fouled, made two free throws, and the Heat were: Champs.  Again.  Chris Bosh - I mean, people can say whatever the "f" they want to about him (Heaven knows I do), but someone has helped LeBron James win back-to-back titles.  He got the biggest offensive rebound in NBA history in Game 6, and got the biggest stop of the championship game tonight.  He doesn't really have any apologizing to do to anyone.  Kid's a back-to-back champ.  Them's the facts,

6) Oh, wait a second: did we forget anyone?  Anyone at all?  Seems like maybe someone is missing...Oh yeah: Dwyane Wade.  You know, he did this.  He did ALL this.  He came here 10 years ago, a skinny, incredibly athletic kid with a huge smile, and no jump shot.  And in 2006, he made this franchise a champion for the first time.  LeBron's game tonight was the best game anyone has ever played in this league, but Dwyane's entire Finals in 2006 is the best series anyone has ever played (I know, I watched those games like 100 times each).  That 2006 title changed the perception of the Miami Heat.  For all my dad's efforts, before 2006, we were seen as a hard-working, defensive-minded, second tier team.  When Dwyane won that chip in 06?  We were winners.  And because Dwyane grew up from a shy kid into a charismatic man, we weren't just winners, but we were also cool.  When LeBron James became a free agent, he doesn't sign here if we aren't winners and cool.  And it didn't end there.  Once LeBron got here, Dwyane had to change how he played, had to add cutting off the ball, and posting up, to his repertoire.  And he had to accept that a franchise that he built had a new best player in LeBron.  And how has that worked out?  They've been to the Finals three straight seasons.  That's rare.  They are back-to-champions - that's amazing.  They also won 27 straight games this season, and 66 overall - they are one of the best basketball teams in the long, storied history of the NBA.  And, frankly, the only thing that kept them from running roughshod through these playoffs, ironically, was Dwyane Wade's knee injury.  His limits over this playoff run are the only thing that kept Miami from destroying Indiana and San Antonio in the same manner they destroyed the rest of the league throughout the regular season.  But on this night, when they needed him most?  Dwyane Wade delivered, just like he always has for this franchise: scored 23 points on 11-21 (mostly midrange jumpers, and mostly with me yelling, "noooo, Dwyane!!!"), and sprung up off of those sore knees for 10 rebounds (10 rebounds in a Game 7 - he's 6'3", by the way).  If Bosh's defensive play was the most exciting for me, the most satisfying was Wade's little middle curl off a LeBron screen ("those two can never play together!") with 3 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.  Battier hit Dwyane with a perfectly timed bullet, and Dwyane beat Duncan to the rim for a layup and 5 point lead.  "Oh my God," I thought - "we are really going to win this!"  LeBron James, clearly, is the best player in Miami Heat history - he's probably the best player in NBA history.  But he's not the most iconic.  Dwyane Wade, I say this with total sincerity: it has been one of the great joys of my life watching you play basketball.  The smiles you've put on my face, and the faces of my whole family, and so many of my friends, and  the excitement you've injected into all of our lives - I can't repay those things.  It's "just" basketball, of course; but I love basketball.  And I love you, boy.  Forever.  Thank you for everything.   

7) Shoutout to the Spurs.  I have the utmost respect for that franchise - they are still the gold standard.  What a marvelous series they played; there would have been no shame in losing to them.  It made me proud that the Spurs stayed out there on the court and went out of their way to congratulate the Heat after the game - made me feel like they respected us, and that's an honor.  I love everything that guys like Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and the rest of that team, stand for.  Except maybe Danny Green, he got a little whiny as the series went on and his shots didn't drop as often...In any case, I think the adversity the Heat faced in this series, against such an amazing franchise, only makes the victory sweeter.  This season, by far, was my favorite in franchise history.  Everything was so easy all season long, and so much fun.  Every game felt like a party!  I loved all the players - adding guys like Ray and Bird only made it more fun - and they clearly loved each other, we won 27 games in a row, 66 overall, and then had to overcome an injury to Dwyane and serious challenges against Indiana and San Antonio to win the title.  Usually a second title doesn't feel as sweet- but somehow this one tastes sweeter.  The Wade-LeBron-Bosh partnership can't ever really be questioned again.  They've won back-to-back titles - if they never win another game together, it's an unqualified success.  It's satisfying - we've all seen how hard those guys have worked at becoming great.  And they've achieved their goal.  I respect that so much.  Great work, guys.  And, again - thank you.

8) (I wrote this before Game 7 of the Indiana series.  It still applies today, even more so because we are: Champs.  Again.  And, yes, by writing this a couple of weeks ago, I definitely reverse-jinxed us into another title)...So I've been thinking for a while that this would be the last season for this blog.  Kind of would be a good feeling to watch a game without writing stupid notes throughout it, and without knowing that when the game ends, there is always a little work waiting before bed.  You know - watch a game like most normal human beings watch it...Today, driving into Dos Minutos International Headquarters, knowing this could be the last day, I found myself thinking about the early days of the blog.  I only asked two people if they thought it was a good idea before starting: my wife, M.Minutos, and Great Friend of the Blog Thor.  They were both, like, "go for it - you don't have anything better to do!"  M.Minutos is the person I love most, and she's the person who has to put up with the most with the blog.  For example: a recent feud with Indiana Pacers radio play-by-play guy Mark J. Boyle (who is actually a decent guy, it turns out).  My wife is also the biggest Heat fan I know - she's never seen the end of a season in which Miami didn't win the title because she storms out of the room before the game ends, so as not to give the Heat's conquerors the satisfaction of celebrating in her presence...And Thor was kind of a bizarre person to ask because he's from Australia, and the only basketball player he's ever heard of is Luc Longley.  I invented #6, which is almost always a non-basketball related thought, specifically for Thor, like, "in case Thor reads today, I should have something in there for him."  Still, in the early days, every couple of days I'd get a note from Thor with someone's email address telling me to add it to the blog's mailing list.  You can't really get a better compliment than that - thanks, dude.  Over time, the readership grew and grew.  It started as a way to entertain my wife, Thor, and myself - the fact that anyone else ever read it was utterly bizarre to me, and still seems weird.  I remember the first time anyone ever told me: "after every game I wait until lunch and then read your blog while I eat."  I was, like, "what the hell is wrong with you," but also, "thanks."  That was Snets, by the way, and it kind of made it more fun to write, knowing that (then) total strangers were reading.  Some of the people who read the blog now are people whose articles I read, too, or who announce the games on tv, or sometimes, just maybe, dudes who play the games (sorry for the all statue jokes, unnamed-possible-blog reader).  That's cool, but whatever to all that - it's still the core people for whom I started the blog that matter the most.  So today, in Dos M. Int'l HQ's it was so awesome, with all this on my mind, that the first email that I opened was from GFOB Thor.  It read:
"Great Dos! You know what? Classic Dos."

"Also, I think you should get a pair of those glasses Wade seems to wear all the time that make him look like a smooth architect who is the boyfriend of the leading lady in a romantic comedy while she is broken up with some douchy young Hollywood leading man before they get back together."
It is the perfect Dos Minutos reader email from one of the original Dos Minutos readers.  First, I have no idea what he's talking about in the first line.  There was no game yesterday, I know Thor doesn't always know when the games are, or have time to keep up with silly basketball blogs.  I thought maybe it was a joke I wasn't getting.  Also, I can't even remember what I wrote about last game.  Absolutely no idea what he is referring to...Second, he charges forward with an rambling, semi-garbled suggestion about glasses that Dwyane Wade wears.  Did he mean that I should get such a pair of glasses and wear them myself, or get a pair to write about, or get a pair to give to Dwyane Wade?  Unclear.  So I emailed him to ask him, and he sends back these pictures:
And he's like, "yes, for you, you should get glasses like these and wear them around."  Why?  Not too sure.  Of course, I'll do it - why wouldn't I?  This email was everything Dos Minutos was all about: friendship, silliness, and basketball.  I can't think of a better way to end it. 
No more games.  See you around someday, maybe...thanks to all you guys....

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Heat 103 Spurs 100 ot tied 3-3

6 Thoughts

1) Epic.  No shoe, no headband.  No quit.  Epic.  Let it fly.

2) I don't know if Miami is going to win Game 7 or lose Game 7.  And I'm out of my element - I'm watching the games in a small beach town in Mexico, on a foreign tv, trying to be quiet so other people in my family on vacation with us can sleep, but also having my brother there - and he is, if possible, even a bigger Walter Ray Allen fan than I am.  So I can't really remember the sequence of plays like I normally can - sadly, it's my one true skill, I can recall every possession of a basketball game, not just the outcome of the play, but all the movements of all ten guys on the court, plus the benches, on every possession.  Remember that Udonis Haslem defensive rebound in the third quarter of a February game in Detroit?  I do.  But the one thing I will always remember is the Heat being down to its last chance, King James James missing a three to tie it, Chris Bosh, of all people, rising above the crowd, grabbing the ball in traffic, and flipping it out on the baseline to Ray Allen, who was already backing his way up to the three point line.  Ray, like I've seen him do a million times, stopped in the perfect spot - well behind the line, but in front of the sidelines, rose up with a guy in his chest, and drilled it.  Several things about the play were fiasco-like.  First of all, Greg Popovich subbed out Duncan as the Spurs were shooting the free throws, clearly to try to match up with Bosh on the perimeter to guard against a game tying three.  But that doesn't make any sense - why can't Duncan match up with Bosh on the perimeter?  It's not like they are going to run a screen for Bosh, something intricate for Duncan to deal with.  Bosh is going to stand in one spot behind the arc, and maybe KJ throws it to him, maybe not.  Why can't Duncan stand next to him out there?  Maybe Bosh doesn't get that rebound if Duncan is still in there - that's not playing the result, the premise that Duncan can't take a triple away from Bosh as a spot-up shooter for one possession doesn't make any sense.  Two, the Spurs probably called a timeout after the ball went through, and they didn't have any timeouts left, so it should have a technical free throw, because Coach Pop clearly ran on to the court screaming "you can't call that!!!"  Oops.  Third, the refs went and reviewed the triple, even though Ray was 3 or 4 inches behind the line and the ref, I believe it was Mike Callaghan, was in perfect position looking right at it.  So the Spurs got a free timeout to draw up a last set - again, they didn't have any left.  That's an abomination - you have to be better at your job than that.  (Editor's note: the refs also let the Spurs sub during the review of the triple - that's against the rules.  Bizarre - they blow a procedural rule in the waning moments of a Finals elimination game?)  But in the midst of all that, all that mess, was Ray's perfect stroke.  He says that the only way to prepare for situations like that is to practice them, over and over and over, until it becomes automatic, until it becomes a reflex.  There is no thought, there is only quiet, cold, perfect efficiency.  Being a basketball fan is about moments, right?  If you say you love basketball, that's what you mean, right?  You love the moments.  I've loved Ray Allen since he enrolled at the University of Connecticut many (many) years ago.  To have that moment with him?  And to share it not only with M.Minutos, but also my brother, who has loved Ray right along with me?  Never forget it.  Never forget you, forever, Ray.  Love you, forever, Ray... 

3) Most embarrassing thing ever: when KJ James made a little push shot off a drive-and-jam-the-ball-in-KJ's-stomach-from-two-feet-away play by Wade, the Heat went up 1 with 1:42 in overtime.  As I said, this never happens to me: but I didn't know the score.  I thought we were down one.  Remember Russell Westbrook in the Finals last year when he lost track of time and score and committed a horrific foul to end one of the games (I think Game 4)?  That was me tonight.  And, by the way, yes, Mexican tv shows the score, plus Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy are calling the game, so at any moment I could have glanced at the bottom of the screen and realized I was wrong.  But there were like 5 possessions, including the first block by Bosh on Parker's jumper, and the Danny Green foul on James that wasn't called and the out of bounds got reversed (again, the other worst use of replay - refs obviously would have called a foul on Green off the review if allowed to by rule) where I thought we were down one.  Didn't realize we were up one until the timeout just before Wade jacked the bad jumper from the top off a dead possession.  And I wasn't even drinking from the beach side shack/bar!

4) How did the Heat win the game?  I thought KJ was stagnant-y much of the night.  He fought and fought and fought, and dragged the Heat back into the game in the fourth quarter, and made a huge three when it was needed.  He also took Tony Parker much of the night, and helped harass him into a 6-23.  But at the same time, Tim Duncan was scoring 25 first half points, Wade was limping around the court, there was one third quarter stretch where Wade and James got knocked down on back-to-back drives while the Spurs shot 4 free throws on the other end without shooting the ball, and worst of all, Miami could not get a loose ball.  Every time the ball squirted loose, or went up on the glass, it felt like Mike Miller got his hands on it, only to be steamrolled to the court by Duncan, or Diaw, or Leonard, and the Spurs would pounce on it.  You know how many loose balls it felt like the Heat got?  Just one.  When the Spurs got a defensive rebound down one with 10 seconds to go, Kawhi Leonard started to pass the ball, no one looked at him, he walked like Chris Webber in the 1990-whatever NCAA championship game, dribbled, found Ginobili, Manu dribbled to the three point line, picked up his dribble, tucked the ball under his arm like a running back, lowered his head, couldn't find anyone to run into, kept running like three more steps, making about 6 total, Ray Allen reached in, stripped the ball loose, it caromed first off Dwyane Wade, then back to Ray, standing just a couple of inches in front of the baseline.  Spurs fouled, two Ray free throws dead-middle, Chris Bosh fed Danny Green a Spalding sandwich, and we all started getting ready for Juego 7.  That stripped ball could have gone anywhere - to a Spur for an open shot, off Wade out of bounds, Ray could have been standing out of bounds when he caught it.  It was the one loose ball we caught a break on all night.  More importantly: if Ray doesn't strip Manu, when would he have stopped running?  It didn't look like he was going to shoot, he was clearly body-hunting to try to get to the line.  "Travelling" had come and gone about 4 steps before he got to Ray.  Was he just going to run over the baseline, hammer a photographer, and throw the ball at the back of the backboard?  Maybe get to the baseline, turn around, and just run back to the other end of the court?  Remaining options were unclear, getting stripped might have actually been the best one.

5) Another thing that happens when you are watching the game out of your element: what actually did happen to KJ's headband?  I assume it was a protest to the accumulation of shots he took at the rim without getting a call - also, tacking on the defensive rebound he got in overtime when Kawhi Leonard trucked him to the floor, and the ref just looked at KJ like, "get up and dribble."  Not sure I've ever seen that play no called before.  But I never saw it come off, I wasn't really listening to Breen and Van Gundy, and by the time M.Minutos pointed it out to me, the moment was gone.  Did it get knocked off and he left it off?  Did he take it off himself?  Was he trying to one up Mike Mil-lar who started the fourth quarter comeback by making a triple in one shoe (shades of Mike Bibby)?  Is he wearing it for Juego 7?  I haven't read anything about the game yet.  I'm sure we're in for 2 days of headband talk.  That should be exciting. 

6) One of the people in Mexico with us is my 6 year old niece.  She's supercool, but she comes up to me this evening and says, "I'm bored."  I tried to remember the saying about being bored, but all I could come up with is, "there is no such thing as 'boring;' there are only boring people being bored in, ummm, I guess, boring situations?  Or something?"  My sister-in-law confirmed that that probably isn't the actual saying, and, also, forbade my niece from talking to me for the rest of the week.
If we steal this title, boy...If we steal this title...  If you need me before Thursday, I definitely won't be bored: headband talk.  See you Thursday!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Spurs 114 Heat 104 Spurs lead 3-2

6 Thoughts

1) Damn.  Just: damn.  I thought we were going to win that game, I thought we played hard, and for long stretches, very well.  But every time I thought we were going to wrestle control of it away from San Antonio, something went wrong.  That one hurts.  Damn. I'm in Puerto Morales, Mexico - if you hear a loud crashing sound while reading this blog, that's the sound of the waves hitting the reef offshore.  Should take the sting off the loss a little, right?  It doesn't.  Damn.  Okay, maybe a bit! This is gonna be short, I'm on vacation.  Vamanos!

2) Mostly what went wrong was the Spurs making shots.  They started off making their first, I don't know, hundred in a row?  And.  They.  Never. Stopped.  Making.  Shots.  Early, Parker and Ginobili got wherever the wanted off the dribble, and the Spurs generally took it to the Heat.  But as the game wore on, I thought Miami was able to settle in defensively, force turnovers, and the longer possessions which benefit their athleticism.  But each time they would creep close, someone on the Spurs would throw in something ridiculous.  Danny Green, 6-10 on 3s again, made a 26 footer over strong contests from Dwyane Wade and Shane Battier after the Heat had cut it to one late in the third.  Kawhi Leonard made a bizarre fallaway hook shot in traffic.  Ginobili made several impossible wrong foot tosses after missing everything all series long, and when Tony Parker made a running 14 foot hook shot over Dwyane Wade late in the fourth quarter, that about did it.  The Spurs shot a scorching 60% from the field - that's crazy.  I might have been a little loopy from margaritas and the sea breeze, but I honestly didn't think Miami played that poorly defensively.  Hats off to the Spurs.

3) I also thought some tough calls went against Miami.  During the Spurs late run, KJ James had a play where he went to the basket in transition, Danny Green gave a foul on purpose, James missed the finish, and the refs brain-locked the call.  It was the classic "all-others-get-that-call-but-KJ James-is-required-to-finish-through-contact" play.  James shot 9 free throws, but if he's Tony Parker, or Dwyane Wade, he would have shot 19.  To the Heat's credit, after getting down 20 in the fourth quarter, they battled back again, and got it to 11 with about 3 minutes to go on a Dwyane Wade runner only to have the bucket waived off by Tony Brothers so he could call a violation on Mike Miller for setting a screen out of bounds, away from the ball, well after Wade released the shot.  Tough one.  Moments later, Miami did get it to 11, and then Ray Allen drilled a triple off a KJ pindown - also wiped off for an illegal screen.  Not even saying either call was wrong - but both were the equivalent of the running Tony Parker hook shot over Wade - wrong place, wrong time, bad luck.  Just seemed like we couldn't catch a good break from the refs, either - it wasn't the worst reffed game, or anything, but when the other team can't miss anything, one big call going Miami's way would have helped.  Damn.

4) Best thing about watching the games in Mexico: you get Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy doing the game, but no ABC pregame or halftime show!  Don't have to mute the sound to avoid the inane "analysis" of Mike Wilbon (who after Game 4 said the Spurs "stink" - spot on, that one), Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose, and Magic Johnson!  Instead we got Alvaro Martin, whoever that is.  And he was speaking Spanish, so whoever he is, I didn't understand a word of it.  This might have been the most enjoyable national NBA broadcast I've ever experienced.  I'll be going to Finland for next year's Finals!  The less I can understand the language, the better!

5) I really honestly believe that if Miami plays as hard on Tuesday and Thursday as they did tonight, they can win both games at home.  I don't think they are favored to do so, but coming into this series, I didn't think they had a realistic shot to win - too banged up, bad matchup.  Now Wade (25 and 10 assists) is looking a little more confident, if not necessarily more athletic, and Chris Bosh (16 and 6) has been more active.  If the Spurs shoot 60% in one of these two games, yes, Miami is probably going to lose.  But I feel decent about it.  We all feel decent, right?  That's quite a rallying cry: WE FEEL DECENT!!! 

6) Puerto Morales is a small town, so most locals speak some English, but not a lot.  I speak no Spanish, so at times there can be a communication gap.  The beaches here are insane, so there is tourism, but I think a lot of it is tourism from other parts of Mexico, not the U.S., which was shocking to me, because before this week, I was unaware there were other parts of Mexico...My policy: no pandering.  I'm not going to give locals an imperialist, patronizing, "por favor," or "gracias," or "como estas."  Those are pretty much the only things I can say in Spanish, so I assume that the reverse is true, that most Mexicans have mastered those simple English phrases - I certainly haven't met anyone here who, in general, seems dopier than me.  So, for instance, when I leave a restaurant, I pay the bill, smile warmly, give a polite "thank you," and then slap on my sombrero and head back to the house where I'm staying.   The locals love me!
Juego 6 is Tuesday.  I'll still be here, so the blog is guaranteed to suck - impossible to write under these conditions for whatever reason.  Don't know how Ernest Hemingway did it.  Might be the last one, though.  If you need me before then, I'll be impressing the locals with my Chicharrito t-shirt.  See you Tuesday!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Heat 109 Spurs 93 tied 2-2

6 Thoughts

1) The Miami Heat now 1-0 in the Finals when Mike Miller starts.  Told you so.  C'MON, BOYZZZZ, LET IT FLYYY!!!

2) Can't even really describe that.  Dwyane Wade.  Dwyane Wade?  The hurt, playing-on-one-leg, bleary-eyed-from-pain Dwyane Wade?  That Dwyane Wade?  Yup - that one!  I mean, it was alright, I mean 32 points (on 14-25), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 steals, and a block at the rim on 7 foot Tiago Splitter, that's a fairly decent game with the franchise that you built (along with my dad, Pat Riley) playing for its championship life.  Oh yeah: on the road.  Oh yeah: took over down the stretch, and blew the Spurs out of their own building, with King James James on the bench!...Whole lotta people who don't watch a whole lotta Heat games during the year talking a lot - a lot - of "Dwyane Wade is too old" mess.  This is how he played all season before he got hurt.  He's not too old - he's too hurt.  It's crazy how uninformed people feel so, umm, informed.  Oops.  Tonight he looked like he felt a little better - still didn't have any lift, but seemed to think the game out a little better: better choices on rim runs, and made sure to take his time and balance up on jumpers, even if he didn't have lift.  He still messed up several fast breaks, but also Euro-stepped through Gary Neal and dunked during the fourth quarter run that also saw him knock down a couple jumpers, find Bosh repeatedly on pick and rolls for hoops, steal an entry pass from on the ball, and drive and finish over Tim Duncan to salt the game away.  His knee isn't going to allow him to play well every night.  But when he does, they're easily the best team in the league.  James is (almost) always great (33 points on 15-25, 11 boards, to bounce back from a rare non-great performance), and when Wade is the second best player on the floor - and healthy, most nights he is - it allows all the role players to settle in and do what they do, instead of asking them to overextend themselves.  He may not hold up, and the Heat may lose the series because of it, but Dwyane Wade is iconic.  Always.

3) Bosh.  Jesus.  Late in the first half, I was back at that point with him: "Spoooooo - sit! him! down!"  I just couldn't take it anymore, I couldn't take the soft jumpers spinning out, all the polite tipping of rebounds into the air only for a Spur to snatch it, the hesitation around the rim - any of it, I just couldn't take any of it.  Earlier in the day I told The Captain "I knew we should have traded him for Pau Gasol last summer after the title - knew it!"  And then he comes out in the first half and was even worse.  What the hell happened at halftime?  It's like someone said to him, "hey, how about playing like you did last year in the Finals against OKC, when you contained every pick and roll, started swatting shots out of the sky like a condor, knocking down open jumpers, and rolling down the lane for finishes," and he was, like, "oh, okay - why didn't you say so?  No problem."  He dominated the paint in the second half - flattened out every driver, contested multiple plays at the rim, blocked shots, rebounded the ball, then knocked down a jumper or two, then started screening for Dwyane, rolling down the lane, and finishing - politely, though - at the rim.  The coup de grace was with 4 minutes to go and Miami up 15, when the Heat knocked the ball loose on a Spur possession, it started rolling towards the sidelines, and Bosh sprinted out there, dove on the floor, slid, and called a timeout from his side to get the Heat a stop.  Finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals.  And you know what?  I'm madder!  WHAT THE HELL???  WHY DON'T YOU JUST DO THAT EVERY GAME, THEN WE COULD WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP AGAIN!!!  WHERE IS PAU GASOL???  DAMN YOU, BOSHHHHHH!!!

4) How good was Miami tonight?  The Big Three scored 85 - the Spurs scored 93.  The Spurs got a classic home whistle - Heat lived in the paint all night, but Spurs shot 31 free throws to Miami's 17 (that was the only thing that kept them around in 2nd and 3rd quarters) - and the Spurs knocked down triples like crazy again: 8-16, Danny Green and Gary Neal a combined 6-9.  And the Heat still pulled away down the stretch.  Can the Heat get two more games out of Wade and steal this title even with him hobbled?  It doesn't feel like they can - but here they are, hanging around, tied 2-2.  The longer you let them hang around...

5) Wait, what?  Doc Rivers desperately wants out of Boston to coach the Clippers?  HAAAAAA!!!!!!!  You have to be kidding me - you mean, the instant Ray Allen left the team, it became unbearable to spend time around the likes of Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce?  Nooo - that can't be right, that just can't be!!!  Even still: the Clippers?  Exactly how low has the Celtic franchise fallen in prestige?  I knew it was low...but nothing like this...Why the Clippers?  The Nets have too prestigious a franchise, wanted to set your sights even lower?  Didn't think Spo would consider you for an assistant job in the offseason?  The head job at Fordham wasn't open?  We always need more middle school teachers...Good grief - the Clippers?...

6) GFOB Web wrote to correct an error we made last post.  By the way, Web is a Celtics fan, but he's actually super-cool.  Believe me, deep down he knows Rondo and Garnett are social deviants, and he  feels terrible about it.  Anyways, he points out that we had the wrong, washed-up, old-timey crooner as Anthony Kiedis' dad.  It's not Paul Simon at all:

HAAAAAA!!!!  I got youuuu to hold me tight (with those disgustingly long talons), Rajon Rondo!!!!!!!!
I'm off to Mexico tomorrow.  I'm gonna sit with my toes in the ocean, sip something very alcoholic, watch the Mexican sun go down, and daydream about Dwyane Wade's gutsy courage to play through pain for me.  Game 5 is Sunday.  Blog should still be rolling - maybe a little delayed.  If you need me before then, you will have to call M.Minutos, because I forgot to buy myself an international phone and data plan, but she did not.  Only call if it's important, like if the girls volleyball coaching job opens up at Santaluces High School across the street from my house - I would want to notify Doc Rivers right away.  Hasta la vista, kids!!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Spurs 113 Heat 77 Spurs lead 2-1

6 Thoughts

1) That doesn't, like, count, right?  That's not one of the real Finals game, I don't think.  Phewww, cuz we got smoked!

2) Play of the game: halfway through the fourth quarter, with the Spurs leading by about 60 points, and Miami having long since stopped playing, Tiago Splitter ducked in on the right side, caught a little pass, and shot a short floater at the basket.  Chris Bosh was standing out of harm's way, directly under the rim, and as the ball approached he seemed to decide, "well, I'm standing right here, I might as well do something," so he reached up and politely goaltended the ball away...right back to a Spur on the wing, I believe Cory Joseph, who instantly whipped it to a wide open Danny Green, who rose up and ripped a triple through the net so hard that it almost snapped the nylon off the iron!  And not just any triple: the Spurs' 15th triple, a new Finals record, en route to 16-32 on the night!  Green made 7-9 and Gary Neal made 6-10.  And it wasn't just about the shooting - the Spurs dominated every aspect of this game, pretty much all night long.  It was the exact same game as Game 2 - except the complete opposite!  Use 'em all up, Spurs; use 'em allll up!

3) I'm not even going to celebrate it, but Mike Miller made all five of his three pointers, and is now 10-11 in the Finals.  Okay, you know what?  I had a crappy day at Dos Minutos International HQs, worked until 9 pm, then flew home to watch us lose by 100 points - I'm gonna celebrate it a little: LET IT FLY, MIKE MIL-LAR!!!  CORN PALACE FEVER!!!  Okay, I'm done.  Here's the problem: Dwyane Wade scored 12 points in the first half tonight, but he probably gave up 18.  He's a liability on offense because he isn't spacing the floor, or finishing at the rim because of his injury.  Also, every time he is out in transition, he makes the worst possible decision for whatever reason (tentative on knee) - his best fastbreak tonight was a play where he drove, jumped, turned, and threw a fastball into KJ's shins from one foot away (somehow KJ deadened it with his legs, picked it up, and finished).  But he's an even bigger liability on defense.  He can only either sell out on the closeout - come all the way, and pray the guy doesn't put the ball on the floor and stroll by him - or hedge all the way into the paint and give up triples.  We all saw how that worked out tonight.  He simply can not get into to the paint to show on the weak side, and still have a quick, controlled closeout back to the perimeter.  Miami's defense is predicated not just on athleticism, but specifically, on King James and Dwyane's athleticism.  If Dwyane is all of a sudden a minus - big minus - defender due to his knee against a team that moves the ball so crisply, and shoots threes so well, it's a monster-sized problem.  Mike Miller is out playing him right now - but Mike Miller's probably not good enough to beat the Spurs in a series.  That's the problem.  If Dwyane can't do it, and it doesn't look like he can, there isn't anyone else who can (I know, I know - not even Mike Mil-lar).  I don't have a problem playing Wade hurt, I guess, although it is frustrating in the moment.  I don't think we can win anyways if he can't play better, so I'll go down with him - that's our dude, he's iconic.  None of this exists without him - never forget that...I thought Spurs in 6 before the series, and I think Spurs in 6 now.  If Dwyane were healthy, I think Miami would win.  Seems pretty simple.  If it was so easy to replace your second best player, we'd be playing OKC in the Finals instead of the Spurs...

4) Yo, everyone is going to be talking about this until Thursday, and I don't have much to add, but for posterity's sake, I guess it needs to be mentioned: KJ James played horrendously.  He couldn't make a shot.  The Spurs are giving him every open jumper he wants, he missed all those.  Then, even when he got to the rim against the four defenders jamming the paint, he missed those.    He got beat to every loose ball by Kawhi Leonard.  And his defense gave in about halfway through the third quarter (along with everyone else).  His three quarter-speed, backwards, dribble-handoff-six-foot-shovel pass directly to Cory Joseph (that dude, again!) during the Spurs explosion was probably the low point of the night.  He hasn't scored 20 points yet in the series.  People are like, "Kawhi Leonard has him on lock!"  That's fine - it doesn't look that way, though, it looks like Kawhi Leonard is sitting down off him, with everyone else pinched to the lane behind him.  And KJ just keeps missing.  Leonard is killing him on the glass the last couple of nights, though - he's just outworking him.  I have no explanation for KJ's play.  The Spurs plan is sound.  Dwyane Wade is hurt.  Bosh couldn't knock down his looks tonight.  But, honestly, for KJ?  He needs to make some open shots.  He made them all year.  Bad time to miss.

5) Listen, Spurs fans.  We all heard you mocking Heat fans at the end of the blowout by chanting "7 Nation Army," like we do in The Trip.  We won't know if that is appropriate for you to do or not until tomorrow, when Indiana Pacers' radio announcer Mark J. Boyle rules on it, but until then let me just say this: Guess what?  You can't hurt our feelings with that.  You know why?  Cuz it's already lame as hell, we are already like, 6-8 years behind the curve by doing it in Miami!  Every European soccer club has already done it, discarded it as played out, brought it back for nostalgia, then discarded it again...years ago!  You can't be lamer than us, Spurs fans!  Go back to your stupid, half-baked rumba shuffle during player introductions that's been boring the entire state of Texas for the past decade and a half.  At least we are lame with something that was cool, at some point!

6) I'm not saying this is a guarantee, I'm not totally positive about this, but there's at least a very real possibility that Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers is the son of Paul Simon of "Hello, Darkness, my dumb friend" fame.  Right?  Look at these two together:

It's kind of the same haircut, they're both white dudes, and they are right ages: Kiedis, in his mid-to-late 40s, Simon, what, probably 100?  Simon would have rocked the ill facial hair as well, but you weren't allowed to do that when he was popular, back in the 1940s.  I think I'm on to something.  Kiedis can't sing, that's weird - but they do say that can skip a generation, you know?  It's worth someone digging into a little further, for sure.  Not me, of course, I mean someone else...
Well, Game 4 is on Thursday.  It's tough to believe it could go a lot worse.  Friday morning I go to Mexico for a week - that's not a joke, a lot of people thought I was making that up, but it's true.  What, just because I spend 400 hours a year writing this stupid blog, you automatically assume that I wouldn't schedule a vacation during the NBA Finals?  Umm, actually, you are right - I didn't; my mother did!  Anyways, I think they have the internet in Mexico, so as long as I don't get kidnapped, I should be able to finish off the season from down there.  Might be a little shorter - don't want to stay up too late, that attracts the banditos.  If you need me before Thursday, I'll be looking for the bridge over the Heat's troubled water (hint: it's from South Dakota, has long hair, and wears #13).  Try to shake this one off! 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Heat 103 Spurs 84 tied 1-1

6 Thoughts

1) When you are old, you are going to think back on your life as a Miami Heat basketball fan, and you are going to remember so many great games from Dwyane Wade, and King James James (Hubieism from Mike Breen tonight: "Dr. J Erving" - cuz that's what we call him!), and probably think about Zo Mourning (H-ism) and Tim Hardaway, and maybe even some Glen Rice, and once in a while, the Rex Chapman Game.  But you are also going to remember Mario "Emcee" Chalmers.  Oh - you gon' remember him!  For better or worse!  Tonight: for better.  With Miami on the ropes a bit in the game, and with the series having a chance to slip away, for one eight minute stretch, he played about as well as he can play.  Drove and finished a banker from the right side (+1).  Pocket pass to KJ James for a layup (got hit twice as hard as Rio - no call, of course).  Strip the ball in the lane defensively, pushed it ahead to James for a layup; came down in transition again with James pushing, spaced the floor behind the three point line, caught the ball, sighted the rim, then dropped a perfect pass on a trailing Walter Ray Allen for a triple.  Went middle, was about to kick it to the wing, heard a whistle on a bump from Kawhi Leonard, reversed his momentum, threw the ball up and it went in, plus the free throw.  Got middle again, jammed on the brakes, okey doked a defender by, and flipped it in.  In all, with significant help from KJ James and the shooters, Emcee triggered a 33-5 run in 8 minutes, and in a game with at least 6 Hall of Famers playing significant minutes (7 if you count Mike Miller, which I do), he led all scorers with 19 points, and didn't commit any turnovers.  He won Game 4 of the Finals last year; he just won Game 2 of the Finals this year.  Miami may not win this series, but Mario Chalmers isn't going out like that - not like that, you know?  Even when it's tough going, he's never afraid to try - that's why you will remember him.  All Almario Vernard Chalmers do is what he do, and that's all he do - nothing more and nothing less...And, oh yeah: MIKE MILLER MADE 3-3 TRIPLES TONIGHT AND MADE A BACKWARDS, NO-LOOK, PINPOINT-PERFECT PASS TO KJ JAMES FOR A DUNK, SO I THINK YOU KNOW WE'RE GONNA HAVE TO LET IT FLYYYYY!!! 

2) Not only is Wade badly injured, and Bosh a little gimpy, now it seems like KJ James is as well.  Wore an ominous wrap on his knee - he never does that - and looked a little under-explosive for much of the game.  To Dwyane and Christopher's credit, however, they sucked it up and got it done early.  While the Spurs - specifically Danny Green - were bombing away in the first half without missing, Miami still scratched out a halftime lead due to Wade and Bosh getting middle and making plays.  Wade still couldn't find any balance on his jumper, messed up a couple of transition plays, and was a turnstile defensively, but at least he was able to weave his way into the paint, make his little jump hook, and find people: 10 points and 4 assists for him in the half.  And Bosh also got the ball moving towards the rim, most impressively one play when he took Splitter off the dribble and found a cutting Birdmandersen for a dunk (9 points 4 rebounds for Bird in 14 minutes of doing what a Birdman does, and what a Birdman brings).  Bosh finished with 12 and 10 with 4 assists (!), and 3 steals (!), and helped keep Tim Duncan (only 9 points) off the rim a little.  Best game Chris has played in a while.  Both guys were on the bench for their normal rests during the decisive run in the second half - by the time it was over, neither guy was really needed anymore.  Look, when Mario Chalmers salts the game away that early, we all get to rest!

3) Last game neither team shot the ball well from distance.  Today, both teams did!  Spurs made 10-20; the Heat 10-19.  Even Shane Battier made one, in garbage time!  The difference was turnovers - last game San Antonio only had 4.  Miami switched up how they played the pick and roll pretty dramatically: they basically played Tony Parker the way the Spurs are playing KJ James.  On screens and rolls they didn't try to trap him, or blitz him - they just flattened him out, and dared him to shoot 18 footers, and made their best effort to keep him out of the lane.  This caused a lot of long Spurs possessions, and late in shot clocks Miami's athleticism got the better of San Antonio (at least on this night): 16 turnovers for the Spurs, and only 6 for Miami.  KJ tried to combat the way the Spurs played him by screening, re-posting, and then finding shooters - his left block laser through Splitter's double to Mike Miller in the far corner for a triple (as I was saying, aloud, "he can't get it there") was one of the best passes I've ever seen.  When you are Parker or James, and everyone is trying to keep you out of the lane, you have to make quick, decisive decisions, and live with the results.  Today James won that battle a little bit.  Funny how two games, between the same two teams, can have such a different result, in ways both large and small...

4) Can somebody please get Jason Terry's phone number for Tiago Splitter?  Because I think they are gonna have something to talk about:


5) This series is such a pleasure to watch.  Both these organizations ooze class, both on and off the court.  So different than the obnoxious Bulls, or Pacers, or Knicks, or, worst of all, the Celtics.  Coach Spo shook his head in amazement after the game when asked how the Heat limited Parker and Duncan in this game "I don't know, they are such great players."  Coach Hop-on-Pop was equally complementary of the Heat: "We struggled, but it was mostly their defense - they played their asses off."  The games are hotly contested on the court, too, but there are no bizarre flagrant fouls, there isn't any constant bitching from players about cheap shots, or the refereeing, and because both teams are playing basketball, and not trying to injure their opponents, they have a nicer flow to them.  When Tim Duncan fell down making a tough baseline jumper after the third quarter buzzer, Emcee Chalmers (who else) skipped over to him, helped him up, and Duncan gave him a little "thank you" pat on the butt.  You can be a fierce competitor without being a dirty jackwad, David West.  Both teams only shot 14 free throws, and neither team could have made an argument with how the game was called.  It also goes to show: if refs would simply call fouls when teams like the Bulls and Pacers are trying to muck the game up, you'd make them stop, the games would flow (and those teams would get killed).  They can only keep doing it if the refs don't call it.  Udonis Haslem scored a bump-and-one basket with a foul called on Tim Duncan that would have been no-called (was no-called) on Roy Hibbert 200 straight times in the Eastern Conference Finals.  If the refs had called moderate intentional bodychecks at the rim fouls on Roy Hibbert in the ECF, he would have fouled out 10 minutes into every game, and the Heat would have wrapped up that series by halftime of Game 2, they just would have cancelled the rest of the games.  Not sure why we all were made to endure that.  In any case, it was a cleanly called game - a couple of weird, blown calls both ways, usually by Joey Crawford, which is bound to happen, and one confrontation between Crawford and the Spurs when the Spurs, by design, started running their inbounds set before the ball was handed to the inbounder.  Again, this is by design, and totally legal.  Crawford blew the whistle and made them wait until he gave the ball to the inbounder before they were allowed to move.  "But it's totally legal."  "I SAID STOP!"

6) Q: In general, who is worse than Russell Crowe?  A: Nobody.  Here are Russell Crowe's All-Time Top Ten Quotes, Either from a Movie or Real Life:

10) "It seems like people enjoy movies about the olden times, that's why I do them.  I could care less, personally."

9) "You killed my family, and I am angry, and I wear a mask, and I stab people with a sword, and I'm called 'The Spaniard,' even though I have an Australian accent, yeah, yeah, yeah, I got it.  Now when's lunch?"

8) "I like to spray a shot of cologne 'down under,' if you know what I mean.  Show a little love for the ladies, you know?"

7) "What do you mean Gatsby's a book, who cares?  Why would I care about that, what are you, some kind of prick?"

6) "Hummus is for panty-sniffers."

5) "The funniest thing about that movie was that I don't even like math, I think it's stupid."

4) "That's not a knife; now that's a knife!"

3) "I'm a beefy, down-on-my-luck boxer with a bad American accent.  Now where's my Oscar?"

2)  "Who wants to see me make the new Superman movie more about me than Superman?"

1) "Are you not entertained, losers?"
Quick turnaround, Game 3 is Tuesday in San Antonio.  I'll be in Mexico on vacation for any games 5-7 - wonder if that's anywhere near San Antonio, maybe I can go to Game 5?  Still not sure exactly where San Antonio is.  If you need me before Tuesday, I'll be watching Gladiator...again (I watched it three times this weekend, it was raining, and I was totally mesmerized by Russell Crowe's boorishness, although I still can't figure out what is going on).  I am entertained, sort of, just not in a good way!  See you Tuesday! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Spurs 92 Heat 88 Spurs lead 1-0

6 Thoughts

1) Man, that was a well-played basketball game, totally different from the sludge-ball styles of the Bulls and Pacers. It's hard to hate the Spurs, I couldn't even really get that fired up during the game. Besides liking Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, Miami shouldn't even be in this series, and I don't even really feel like we have a very good chance with Wade's knee so messed up.  Any decent team would have had the Heat out of there in the Eastern Conference Finals.  So I'm too passive, that's not good.  I'm gonna trash talk the Spurs, get things riled up: "Hey, Tim Duncan, you're too mellow!"  "Hey, Tony Parker, you're an excellent ball-handler!" See, it doesn't work.  Spurs didn't even seem to be thrown off by the nasty, nasty weather we had down here today: torrential downpours, and tornadoes.  Adding a tropical storm tomorrow, maybe that will do the trick.  Not too sure if they are used to bad weather living in San Antonio - where is that, somewhere in Texas?  Let's go, let's do it.

2) Both teams executed well; neither shot it great, even though there were a lot of open looks.  San Antonio was 7-23 on triples, and the Heat 8-25.  Twice, Mario "Emcee" Chalmers had chances to push the lead out early in the third quarter with wide open looks from 3 (second would have put them up 10), and twice he missed.  Every time Miami got up 5 or 6 for three quarters, the Spurs made a jumper.  They hung around, they never turned it over (an amazing 4 for the game), and even though Miami only had 8 themselves, a couple came in succession in the fourth quarter as the Spurs opened their own 7 point lead.  In a game this crisp, you can't afford any slip up - that was it, that was the ballgame, one soft stretch.  This is going to be a really hard series for Miami to win.  I think this Spurs team is a much harder matchup for Miami than OKC was last year, regardless of Dwyane's health.  They move the ball so nicely.

3) It was kind of fitting, right?  Down 2, with Miami needing one stop, under 10 seconds to go, the shot clock down?  Tony Parker stumbled across the lane, King James James had him locked down,  Dwyane Wade "flashed" by and nearly stole the ball, Parker fell down, got up, KJ kind of reached for the ball, got out of position, and Parker stepped through and made a 14 footer a nanosecond before the 24 second buzzer went off: ballgame.  Each team's best player, against each other, with the game on the line.  How often does a game come down to that - the two best players actually going head to head?  Not often, because your best offensive player isn't usually your best defensive player.  Parker was amazing tonight, 21 points, 6 assists, and zero turnovers, even though he had to handle all night against such an athletic team.  And James was also great: maybe he could have been more aggressive with his offense - only 18 on 7-16, the jumper wasn't really falling.  But he had to do everything else: 18 rebounds, 16 defensive, 10 assists, and guarded Parker down the stretch of the game (although the Spurs smartly screened to get KJ off him).  KJ got some help: 17 from Wade, and 13 each from Bosh and Ray Allen, but it wasn't quite enough. 

4) Two underrated moments in the pre-game introductions.  First, Miami, which, at best, usually has a shambles of an introduction line because KJ James just goes out to midcourt and waits for the game to start before the intros even begin, had to switch it up because the game wasn't scheduled to start directly after the lineups were announced.  So while Mike Miller and Norris Cole did their normal bouncy dances to "Seven Nation Army" (Mike Mil-lar's favorite lyric: "And I'm bleeding, and I'm bleeding, and I'm bleeding"), the rest of the guys just stood around and talked to each other.  No line whatsoever, except Chalmers tried to get some dap, but everyone ignored him...Second, I guess someone told Coach Spo to stand like a statue and stare directly at the tv camera in front of him during his introduction, because that's what he did, he looked a little like Chris Bosh defending the rim, except way more focused and intense.  STEP BACK FROM THE CAMERA, SPO, YOU ARE FREAKING US OUT!

5) Not a complaint, just an observation: I honestly believe the Spurs called like 30 timeouts in this game.  Every time the Heat scored, Pop called a timeout.  It was, like, 17-15, and Pop would leap off the bench: "I've had enough of this, dadgummit, Gary Neal: timeout!"  I didn't feel like he was breaking up the Heat's momentum, because they didn't even have any, but now, as I write this, I see Pop has outwitted us all again: he was calling pre-momentum timeouts!  We couldn't even get any momentum, because before we could even get to the next play which would start some momentum, he was hollering for the old t.o.  He also outwitted the refs, and the official scorer, because there is usually a limit on timeouts, and it isn't 15 a half.  Not even close...Was that a flop?  Pop says "stop!"  Hey, Pop, you're on top!  Goodness gracious, that was terrible.  Hop on Pop!  Ewww, that's what she said! 

6) "Hey, super-awesome Bradford Cox and your band Deerhunter: do you mind if I stand in your earhole and shoot a diagonal video of you with my cell phone?  Great!  Hey: have you been working out?"   ...   Warning: Do not click on this video unless you like totally ill music.  DO NOT CLICK ON THIS VIDEO UNLESS YOU LIKE TOTALLY ILL MUSIC!!!

Sorry this was the worst blog ever, I know I am going to get 50 emails saying I was not vitriolic or defiant enough after a loss.  I'm the Chris Bosh of blogging!  I'll come stronger next game, I promise.  That's Sunday.  If you need me before then, I'll be playing my guitar, but sideways.  Have a good weekend!