24 Second Thoughts On Game 1

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24 – Few times are filled with more excitement and dripping with anticipation than moments before Game 1 of The Finals. First, we get the lovely 12-year-old Julia Dale belting out the national anthem for the 23rd straight postseason game. Then, the White Stripes’ anthem Seven Nation Army. Rip it off!

23 — Rust? What rust? Tony Parker comes out of the box wielding the pick and roll like Zorro’s sword and carves up the Heat early for a 9-2 lead.

22 — ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy sums up those Chris Bosh 3-point shots quite accurately. If he wants to take them for the next week or so, the Spurs will be quite happy.

21 – What does more than a decade and a half of throwing your body all over basketball courts around the globe do to you? If you’re 35-year-old Manu Ginobili, it means you can’t quite elevate to finish off that nice crossover drive with a dunk.

20 Tim Duncan (0-for-5) was having problems finding his offensive rhythm, but getting his second foul on LeBron James’ drive with 1:43 left in the first quarter sends him to the bench and presents problems for the Spurs defense.

19 – The Heat are getting the ball inside for the shots they want and hit three treys in the first quarter, while the Spurs are missing easy, open looks.

18 – First big disappointment of The Finals. Episode No. 1 of “The Pop Show” is a flop as Gregg Popovich fails to bite the head off sideline reporter Doris Burke and actually answers her questions civilly.

17 Ray Allen and Mike Miller might ask the Spurs’ perimeter defenders to pass the sunscreen and serve some cold drinks. This soft — or nonexistent — pressure at the 3-point line is making it look like a relaxing day at the beach for Miami shooters.

16 – By the way, I’m totally with Van Gundy. One of the first acts for new commissioner Adam Silver when he takes over next February should be changing The Finals format back to 2-2-1-1-1. The 2-3-2 setup is the NBA’s equivalent of penalty kicks in soccer and the DH in baseball — an idea that never was good.

15 – Get a good look at Gary Neal right now. If he doesn’t start knocking down those open jumpers, Pop will stuff him away in the luggage until the Spurs get back to Texas … or maybe even until next October.

14 – Give Erik Spoelstra credit for pushing all the right buttons in the first half. He’s already gone 11 deep and his bench has outscored the Spurs’ bench 19-10.

13 – When’s the last time Dwyane Wade looked as comfortable, as active, as good this spring? Never. His 13 points are his highest-scoring first half of the playoffs. But the Spurs can’t be totally unhappy, all things considered. They’re missing open shots, not getting back in transition, yet trail by just 52-49 at the half.

12 — What’s got the Heat feeling happiest at the half? They don’t have to spend the break icing down those bruises that were so often delivered by Roy Hibbert and the Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals.

11 – Gotta like that Bosh has had the sense to move in from the 3-point line and work instead from 18-foot range for jumpers and drives. That mid-range shot that drives all of the stat geeks into screaming fits has a much undervalued place in today’s game.

10 – Floppers go home. Give the referees credit in this one. They stood by and watched Ginobili flop to the ground as Wade rose up and stuck the turnaround and they didn’t call anything. “Get up and play!” is the correct message.

9 – The kid is all right. The 21-year-old Kawhi Leonard is playing his first Finals game with the impossible task of guarding LeBron and he’s acquitted himself well, holding his own in the post.

8 – If the Heat are going to be able to outrebound the Spurs in every game, they’ll be getting fitted for another set of rings.

7 – 72-69 Heat after three quarters doesn’t quite feel right. Seems like Miami is in complete control and seems like the Spurs can’t get their act together at either end and yet it’s still a toss-up into the final period.

6 – Uh-oh. Look who takes their first lead since the first quarter. Parker’s free throws put Spurs in front 77-76 and this game is looking more and more like the wallet hanging out of a drunk man’s pocket, ready to be stolen.

5 – The facts, and your own eyes, will tell you what you already should know — Parker is the best point guard in the NBA right now and has been right there with LeBron as the top two performers in the 2013 playoffs.

4 – Big switch down the stretch as Spoelstra shifts LeBron over to guarding Parker. It’s what we all expected in the clutch.

3 – It’s a game of less than inches. It takes only about a zillion replays to finally show that Parker got off his desperate clutch shot a millisecond ahead of the shot clock.

2 — Go figure. LeBron rings up another triple-double, but it is outdone by Danny Green with a quad-triple. That’s four 3-pointers by the kid who finished last year’s Western Conference finals to OKC riding the bench.

1 – Parker’s 10-point fourth quarter and that amazing shot that just beat the buzzer were pretty. But the Spurs won this one with defense. Miami shot just 5-for-18 in the fourth quarter with five turnovers. LeBron and Wade combined for six points on 2-for-6 shooting and the Spurs win 92-88.

40 Comments

  1. kiriyama says:

    This artical feels as if it is written by a heat fanboy.

  2. cp10 says:

    Pardon my ignorance, but wasn’t that a travelling violation?

  3. Tom says:

    It’s hard to say bc the spurs weren’t even shooting well.. So if the spurs are the one knocking down shots, it’s gonna be very tough on LJ to carry him team alone.

  4. Connection says:

    When I was just a boy my momma told me.. Winning is within you and defeat is in LA

  5. Wilson says:

    21 – He was fouled. Are you blind?

    • 34yr fan says:

      So he just needed something to write and used his usual attempt at humor….the lame kind of humor

  6. Letty says:

    # 10 Floppers go home?? This man has been whacked,shoved, bleeding from his nose or lip, you name it and not once has he faked like Tony Allen from the Grizzlies flopping around like a fish out of water!
    Manu has gotten up (frustrated with referees I’m sure) but kept on playing!!

  7. High School Coach says:

    Number 21. …? Manu would have had to get the ball almost 2 feet over the rim to dunk it. Number 21 is just plain stupid in my humble opinion.

  8. waveplanet says:

    When all is said and done, Miami will beat spurs. Heat in 6. Let’s go heat!!!

  9. Kevo says:

    Miami might be better, but consistency is not what they are.

    Spurs in 6.

  10. LeBum says:

    LeBum James 4 points in the 4th lol

  11. Mehr says:

    Miami must play better in defense and attack the rim more in offence.
    No doubt that Miami is a better team and can win the series if they play harder

  12. SM says:

    Nice article and discussion.
    The reality is Miami Heat is a better team than St_Antonio and they just played careless and soft in the 4th quarter.
    It seem a very friendly game for Miami like their attitude against Dallas 2 years ago.
    If Miami plays hard the same way they did in game 7 against Indiana, they can win the next 4 games.

    • Narrew says:

      The reality is Miami Heat have better talent than San Antonio, but San Antonio plays better as a TEAM!

    • ASDF says:

      heat might have overall more “raw talent”, but spurs have better coaching, better teamwork, better pg and center, more experience… and finally for spurs its all about the game while the heat its all about the show

  13. twinm85 says:

    that 21st one is stupid. manu wasn’t “too old” to finish that dunk. haslem inadvertantly swiped him over the head and pulled him back. maybe a guy with longer arms would have finished it, but you can’t blaim that on manu being old

    • 34yr fan says:

      indeed …and could’ve been calld a foul…after all ….I think if you ‘arm’ hits another players’s head/forehead it is contact while attempting a shot….

  14. W/E says:

    couldnt ask for a better matchup in the finals, Spurs vs the Heat dayyyyuuumm yeahhh..

  15. Neo Zara says:

    Miami isn’t the only team with room for improvement. If those free 3-pointers knocks for san antonio, i see a blow out win.

  16. Big Al says:

    I expected the Heat to pull away in the second if not third quarter, but the Spurs somehow stuck with them, trailing only by three at the end of those two. That way, Miami would have had some buffer in the fourth should San Antonio make a comeback like they did here.

    Hopefully, this is just like the Game 1 against Chicago. LeBron and friends need to crush Parker and pals in the next one like they should have here.

    • 34yr fan says:

      ….good luck with that “crush” stuff…..How about ‘keep up with’….for a start….lol….

    • 34yr fan says:

      LITTLE al……. “but the Spurs ‘somehow’ stuck with them”……that is a funny statement…..you say that as if the heaters are Hard to “stick” with……. they’re not…..just ask the Pacers….’cept for one game, they were all close…..I guess it is perplexing to you as to How the Spurs “stuck” with the bronbrons…..good defense, pure and simple………and to ALL of the heater fans with the “crush” on James…. So , Kawhi can’t cover the “KING”……wrong , AGAIN……and btw,….how did you like Kawhi’s drive to the basket ..blowing right by bronbron fo a basket…..so who can’t cover who?????…lol

  17. josh says:

    cant rip on lebron for his performance but the heat will need more than him to beat the spurs..go spurs!

  18. RayRay says:

    It’s not over yet boys & girls. The Heat are a hardworking team and know what it takes to win…get ready for a comeback.

  19. realist2013 says:

    Said it before all those fans pf the Heat with blinders on need to pay close attention. The heat get excited after every dunk or three etc. Everyone thinks they are dominating yet the spurs are calm and within a few points. All that flare is good to sell tickets and make sportscenter, but when you’re playing against a complete and polished team like the Spurs theor old school and automatic style even with mistakes will still prevail. Be humble like Mr. Duncan and just do work.

  20. mikepl says:

    as much as I dont like spurs i wish them win that series… and prove once again that payroll is not everything

  21. ism says:

    I don’t know if this feature is new but I like it. Do it again and again!
    24 second thoughts – good title, good idea!

  22. Go Spurs-Spurs are the better team!!!
    Spurs All The Way!!!

  23. J says:

    awesome article!!!

  24. Nice win Spurs.

    Was a boring game untill the last 5 minutes. What a denouement!!!
    Hmmmm….seems like when the officials are making the right calls and not fooled by the Heat theatre …..suddenly Miami is much more vulnerable…..hmmm. Naaaaah I might be wrong here, Spurs were just more consistent in the end.

    But unless they have lost I want to congratulate Pat Riley & Spo. For the first time in the playoffs this year I saw the majority of the Heat team being involved in their playing tacticts, even Joel anthony got some minutes. And man good old Ray Allen was on fire! This is what Bball is all about. You win together – you lose together.

    And Pop…..give T-Mac some playtime, what’s wrong with you??

  25. Treksor says:

    Spurs all the way!!… :)

  26. bill says:

    Mr. Blinebury, I love your articles but you really should just stick with american sports. To say that penalty kicks in football (soccer, as you name it) was never a good idea is the basketball equivalent of saying that free-throws were never a good idea. It has absolutely nothing to do with game formats for the finals

    • ASDF says:

      uh… free throws generally only matter in large volume. i reckon a single penalty kick can alone decide a football game due to the extremely low scoring of the sport…