Congratulations to the Miami Heat. I don’t say that lightly because I HATE them, but my feelings aside, they won away last night, beating the Spurs in Game 7.
A few weeks ago I wrote a story about how the Miami Heat possibly becoming the next NBA dynasty and it sure looks like we are in the beginning stages of that. The Heat won the second NBA title in a row last night and have played for three straight. If you are paying attention, that means LeBron, Wade and Bosh have played for the title all three years they’ve been together in Miami. That sure looks like the makings of a dynasty to me.
I am a well-documented Mavericks fan, but I was rooting for the Spurs in the Finals. That being said, I’m glad I am not a tried and true Spurs fan, because that was heartbreaking. As a band-wagoner, it was really entertaining, though.
The Spurs took Game 1, stunning the favored Heat, when Tony Parker did this this. Suddenly SA was in control of the series, but Miami responded with a blowout in Game 2 and the teams headed to San Antonio tied at one. Losing 103-84 in Game 2 put the already-surly Spurs in a worse mood and they stomped Miami in Game 3, 113-77, led by Danny Green and Gary Neal, who combined for 51 points in 24 and 25 minutes, respectively. Los Spurs were firmly in control of the series.
Except this is the Miami Heat, the new dynasty. You don’t get that label by lying down. The defense of the Heat smothered San Antonio in Game 4, holding them to 17 fourth-quarter points and the big three (Bosh, James, Wade) combined for 85 points, all of them jump shots in the fourth quarter, it seemed. The Spurs lost the home court advantage and whatever happened in Game 5, the series was headed back to South Beach.
Manu Ginobili was struggling, but Spurs coach Greg Popovich inserted him into the starting lineup in Game 5 and Manu responded, scoring 24 and totaling 10 assists. Danny Green made six 3-pointers and broke the NBA Finals record for most 3s in a series with 25 and the Spurs won, 114-104, to take a 3-2 lead. They were a win away from the title and people were openly calling Danny Green to be the Finals MVP.
Back in Miami, it looked like San Antonio was going pull a Mavs (my greatest professional sports memory ever). The Miami crowd headed to the exits as a late rally led to a five-point lead with 28 seconds left. A LeBron James 3-pointer cut it to 2 and Kawhi Leonard missed a game/NBA title-icing free throw, keeping the door open as SA lead 95-92 with 19 seconds left. Ray Allen, of course, knocked down a 3 to tie the game and Miami outscored San Antonio 8-5 in OT to win Game 6, led by a weird-looking headband-less Lebron.
I felt like I was watching the Texas Rangers/St. Louis Cardinals World Series 7. The Spurs were this close, just like the Rangers, but they couldn’t pull the trigger. It was the sort of soul-crushing loss teams don't recover from (Manu said as much) and the sort of transcendent win that elevates a team to a ring. See for yourself.
I didn’t have much faith in SA winning Game 7 on the road — that never happens. For good reason, they didn’t. Miami again smothered the older, more tired Spurs and held them 17 fourth-quarter points again and won the title in front a raucous crowd.
San Antonio had their chances, but you don’t get the dynasty tag without fighting for it, and Miami fought for it. I feel for you Spurs fans — that’s a tough one to swallow, because you never know when your team will get another chance like that. Unless you are a Miami Heat fan, because then you probably get another chance again next year. That’s how dynasties work.