Spurs Come Blinking Into Finals Light

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MIAMI – Manu Ginobili darn near got his wish for the Miami Heat in what turned out to be a rigorous Eastern Conference finals.

“Let them play five overtimes in Game 7,” Ginobili had said after his San Antonio team had dispatched the Memphis Grizzlies in four games on the West side of the NBA’s postseason bracket. That series ended on May 27, by which time the Heat and the Pacers had played only three games.

While everything else that transpired in that seven-game series ground on, the Spurs waited. And worked out. And watched, scouting two teams for the day they’d eventually become one. And then the Spurs waited some more.

Despite Ginobili rooting for a tuckered-out Finals foe, several Spurs players wondered privately if too much time off from competition would dull their edge. Since the end of the regular season, San Antonio has played 14 games in 49 days. It had a seven-day layoff between the first round and its West semifinals against Golden State, a gap of just two days before facing Memphis, a lull of three days within that series and most recently nine days without games while waiting for the Heat.

Video highlights of San Antonio’s 2013 postseason highlights already are looking a little grainy and yellow. The Spurs’ haircuts-to-games-played ratio never has been higher.

While some would say this is precisely what a team built around elderly gentlemen might need, the other end of that “rest” scale is tagged “rust.” If San Antonio comes out sluggish and has trouble finding its legs in Game 1 Thursday night at AmericanAirlines Arena, the topic will come up again.

“It’s not really good, obviously,” Spurs guard Tony Parker said. “It’s a little bit too long. Everybody is healthy. That’s the main thing. You want to go through practices, you want to go hard, but you want nobody to get hurt. I think we did the best we can.”

Both the Spurs and the Heat saw a little of the downside of too much layoff in the early rounds. Against Golden State, on its home court, San Antonio needed two overtimes to win the opener and then dropped Game 2. Miami had a full week to kill after its sweep of Milwaukee in the first round, then got slapped at home by an undermanned Bulls team in the semifinal opener.

Veteran Miami guard Ray Allen talked about the fresh-slate feeling that comes with reaching The Finals, the adrenaline of which might make up for whatever grueling runway a participating team had to get here. And LeBron James – whether answering honestly, accepting the reality that he can’t change the calendar anyway or believing in the power of positive thinking – left no doubt that he’s fine the way the East finals schedule played out.

“I’m ready to play now,” he said. “I would rather have the two days [off rather than nine].”

18 Comments

  1. Bob says:

    Yep … LeBron will get the dunks and the Spurs will rain down the threes. Good call.

  2. Miami Heat Fan says:

    Weather forecast tonight in American Airlines Arena. it’s extremely HOT weather even though it’s raining……….raining 3′s and dunks. yeah! Back to Back for MIAMI HEAT.

  3. Patrickmarc says:

    Ginobili in good shape, Spurs need him so much,

    as Miami needs so much Ray Allen.

    Those two players are able to win a match in 12 minutes.

  4. Willy says:

    The Heat has never played against a ball movement team like the Spurs all season, even though they beat them twice it really wasn’t team on team so to speak. Wonder if both head coaches had feelings about meeting in the near future? This is the ultimate match up. Ginobli and Wade will be awesome. Team D on Lebron will be fun to watch, KLeonard cannot gaurd him alone, he will require much help. Can the Spurs make the D stops early in the game? Wish D West was a Spur. Free agent this year?

  5. Duke says:

    The Spurs in their youth would likely sweep this Heat team. The Eastern conference has been horrible for years.. the Heat had that long win streak at the end of the season but 19 were against east teams… They are a very good team but I’m not so sure they can beat SA in a 7 game series.

  6. mdc says:

    Teams have to prove everything at the playoffs…Why did a playoffs series upto game 7..Spurs Swept Lakers because they lack players bec. of injuries..Spurs Win @ Goldenstate @ 4-2 bec. lack of experience & players..Spurs Swept Grizzlies bec. of over confident..Miami swept the Bucks bec. its 1 vs 8 @ the standing..Miami Wins @ Chicago because of lack of players bec. of injuries but a close fight..This is more intriguing Miami Wins over Indiana 4-3 @ game 7..Why because same Team power…But without Lebron they couldnt win..so Lebron dont say this – “I’m ready to play now,” he said. “I would rather have the two days [off rather than nine].” – . Spurs have 9 days rest bec. they prove they are the best @ West..

    • darksidespurs says:

      Thats right they prove that they are the best in the WEST, now they will prove that they are better than all the REST!! (Go SPURS GO)… Show them the broom (Another SWEEP for Lebron and what ever team he try to bring)

  7. becareful lebron says:

    This is RUST vs FATIGUE. It will take about 2 Quarters of the game for the Spurs to reestablish their rythm. The fatigued Heat will have rhythm immediately but will fade out later in the game.

  8. Loki says:

    Throwback to the last time Lebron went against the Spurs:

    “This is gonna be your league in a little while.”

    If The heat win I guess that means Duncan is psychic. Rooting for the Spurs but this video changed my perspective of things, Duncan’s a respectable guy and if he accepts defeat in the end well so will this Spurs fan. On the other hand hoping to see him get that 5th ring so he can have the best possible end to an amazing career. Lebron’s got plenty of time to gather another ring, he’ll live with a finals loss. GO SPURS!

  9. Who on the Spurs can guard King James? Leanord bhahahaha……… c’mon man. This man could barley guard Steph Curry who is smaller and by no standard comparable to a LBJ. Next is whooooo?? Boris Diaw bhahahahaha, thats just ridiculous. It will take the whole spurs defensive unit to stop lebron which will leave Jesus Shuttlesworth. Christina Bosh, and Mr. Wade wide open. That being said, these three have not been good as of late. These three will need to be a factor to beat the Spurs who are an elite TEAM. The next question regarding the finals is the coaching between Pop and Bron. No disrespect to Spolstra, but Lebron is the floor Dictator. Lebron must attack the rim constantly against this less physical team. The Heat have played two physical series with the Bulls and Pacers. The Spurs don’t have a specimen like Hibbert that can stop the attack of Bron and Wade, nor do they have the killer instinct of Noah and the Bulls. Splitter needs to wear a helmet in the paint if he intends to try and stop the train coming down the track and Duncan might explode if he attempts to put his hand in the cookie jar. The defensive intensity and constant attack of Lebron and Wade is more than enough to take the Spurs in 5, but if the supporting cast doesnt show up the Spurs could dismantle the Heat in this series. I personally hope to see Bron guard Tony Parker. What a match up this would be. if Lebron can negate parker the Heat win the series. The Spurs go as Parker goes.

    • Duke says:

      James is a linebacker playing basketball. He gets a lot of no calls, just like Shak did in his day. I hope the officiating calls the frequent charging from Lebron… It’s a big part of Lebron’s game and he’s not called for his frequent charging. Just look how he lowers his shoulder and makes hard contact going to the basket vs Duncan and his play, over the years.

    • Tom says:

      Steph curry was shut down after his first two games. End of story.

    • 34yr fan says:

      You know….y’all heater fans are fixin’ to find out all about Kawhi…….you don’t know anything about him yet you write him off in one simple line…. but the Spurs get the last laugh !!!…….Spurs in 5 or 6

  10. Patty says:

    I like Dwayne Wade. He is a Great Player and person.

    I liked his press conference as he told the story about going over to Chris Bosh’s home and comforted Chris.

    That is what a leader does. Good for Dwayne Wade.

  11. 34yr fan says:

    d’ ya get this man with the threat in his moniker……”Don’t bet the house on it”

  12. CelticsFan says:

    Tim Duncan looks like a deer in headlights! lmao but don’t be fooled he can still ball with the best of em!

  13. Silence I'll kill u says:

    7 games is too much, this will be done in 5, with the guys having 2 days rest. D’ ya get wa i mean?