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....