Right And Wrong: When A Triple-Double In The Finals Isn’t Good Enough

.

Rare is the moment when a triple-double of 18 points, 10 assists and 18 rebounds in the NBA Finals can be deemed not good enough.

Welcome to the upside-down world of LeBron James.

The King left his Cleveland throne three years ago for the company of more noble servants, not more clown jesters. Yet here is, fresh off a grueling, seven-game series just to get back to The Finals and he and his favored Miami Heat — The Big Three a vanishing contrail of past conquests — have fallen behind the magnificent Tony Parker and his humming band of San Antonio Spurs, 1-0.

Right: James had just eight points on seven shots in the second half and he took just four shots in nine minutes of the fourth quarter. Chris Bosh, dared by San Antonio to shoot long-range jumpers, took five shots and missed four. Credit young Spurs defender Kawhi Leonard for his quiet, determined one-on-one defense against James (7-for-16 shooting) all game. Leonard made a huge steal on a James pass attempt with six minutes to go that extended a 79-78 Spurs lead to 81-78 and ignited a 6-1 surge. The Spurs never lost the lead. Fact is the Spurs will live with an 18-10-18 triple-double from James every game. It’s the 32-10-10 ones that’ll get them killed.

Wrong: With 1:08 to go and the Heat down 90-86, Bosh received the ball behind the arc on the right wing. Not a defender stood between him and Miami Beach. Although he was 0-for-3 from 3-point range, Bosh unleashed a wide-open 3 … and he still missed it. Bosh needed to put is head down and drive to the basket, at least hope to get to the free throw line where was 1-for-2 in 35 minutes.

Right:Parker is a magician with the basketball and if his Curly Neal impersonation as the shot clock ticked down on the Spurs’ final possession isn’t convincing, nothing will be. The Heat don’t have an answer for Parker and that’s going to be a big problem. Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole were helpless and when Miami matched LeBron on him, the Spurs’ screens created switches. Parker scored 10 points in the fourth quarter while the Heat managed just 16. He finished with 21 points on 9-for-18 shooting, six assists and — this is amazing — no turnovers in darn near 40 minutes of orchestrating the offense.

Wrong: The Heat have now lost one of the first two games at home in three consecutive series. It hasn’t proven fatal yet, but in the 2-3-2 Finals format, it’s more difficult to recover (as the Heat remember well from 2011). When Cole busted a 3-pointer for a 38-29 lead early in the second quarter, Miami appeared to have that winning look in their eye, but never could put their foot down. Only two minutes later it was 38-36. It would be the theme of the night with the Spurs continually reeling itself back within a bucket or so until finally pulling ahead in the fourth quarter for its first lead since the first quarter. That nine-point bulge Miami briefly enjoyed was its largest.

Right: Any suggestion that 37-year-old Tim Duncan wouldn’t victimize Miami’s thin interior in the same manner as the Pacers’ young and rugged Roy Hibbert seemed asinine — and indeed were. Duncan opened the game 0-for-5 from the floor, but the quickly heated up and tormented the Heat the rest of the way for a do-it-all 20 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots.

Wrong: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra‘s rotation went haywire. By the end of the first half he and already used six players off the bench with five logging six-plus minutes (Rashard Lewis – DNP-CD again — must really feel awful). In Game 7 against the Pacers, Spoelstra went nine-deep with Shane Battier playing fewer than nine minutes. Sure, maybe Spoelstra felt his guys were a little worn out after the Pacers series and wanted to spread some minutes, but look for him to tighten the rotation and seek more continuity.

30 Comments

  1. Moroccan Spurs Fan says:

    My Spurs just made me the happiest fan ever, they always do, been a fan since 1995 from across the world..paying so much money to get the TV coverage of all my Spurs games,,,this year i was blessed to get a ticket to come watch them in their fifth final for their fifth ring baby at the AT&T Center…. guess what NBA fans, the Spurs didnt even play their scary basketball in the first game..they only shot 38% and they could take it..i call it a steal….. I m really tired of watching this ESPN thing talking about Miami and what they did wrong and not even mentioning what the Spurs did right to win the game 1………………… btw, San Antonio is amazing, good food, lovely ppl, and I m stayin till i share the moment with my Spurs at the river walk Parade . go Spurs Go…. Spurs in 5

  2. mick.luis14 says:

    Kudos to the Spurs. SIMPLE BASKETBALL will always prevail thats how spurs won their 4 titles.
    If i’m not mistaken the Spurs won all their finals appearance. 4-0 for spurs while the heat 2-1.

    All of you morons who thinks the ILLUMINATI owns the NBA.
    That’s the dumbest theory of all. LOL! The heat can’t be saved by NWO.

  3. SPURS NATION says:

    Tony Parker gets my full respect. Seeing him nearly fall and then regain his balance like that, I have to think God provided the timely crutch. Great job Tony!

  4. Loki says:

    San Antonio won the game because they made big plays when it counted and forced Miami to make mistakes when it counted. Come backs aren’t new to San Antonio, why should Miami be an exception? It should be no surprise that the Spurs pulled it together and took the game unless you didn’t start watching basketball until 2010. Go watch Footage from the Final game of the 03 Finals vs Jason Kidd’s nets and watch Tim Duncan bring that lead back to win his second title.

    But hey let’s keep blaming Lebron and Bosh for everything instead of simply appreciating great clutch play by the spurs, makes perfect sense.

  5. Jonas Santos says:

    Come on guys.. it just a 1st Game.. 6 Games remaining in the FINALS.. HEAT in 6.. you bet!!!

    • Adam says:

      After Game 2, all that would change because the Spurs would win it and it won’t be Miami in 6 anymore, you bet.

    • Loki says:

      Heat in 6 would require at least taking two in San Antonio now. Not happening

  6. mayo says:

    GAME TIME DONT SAY STUPID THINGS!!!!!!!!!

  7. cap lan tanga amp says:

    sports writer like this one is very bias not very objective but still in the end they are always proven wrong.

    • Adam says:

      You should read Sekou Smith’s articles, man. It’s full on biased, one-sided opinion-filled article and it’s certainly not objective. Unless a Miami Heat fan reads his articles. He’s so biased Sekou should be the Heat’s sixth man of the year.

  8. Game Time says:

    I know people will think I’m in denial, but Miami dropped that game on purpose. They want to win in 6 so they can be at home. Conspiracy theory yeah, but that really is how I see if from the way the game was played towards the end.

    • Thompson says:

      What a ridiculous statement. I suppose they are going to dump another one too, right? Because they can reel off 4 wins against the SPurs anytime they choose to, right?

      Even though this theory is the most ridiculous theory I’ve ever heard, I can still run with it thusly: wouldn’t it make more sense to protect your home court for the first two games and then decide to dump two out of three in San Antonio where the odds are a little bit higher that San Antonio might actually beat you when you are actually trying?

      Yup… most ridiculous theory EVER.

    • Adam says:

      Game Time, this is the most hilarious comment I have ever read in Hang Time so far, besides Sekou Smith’s articles. I can’t wait to hear or read what else you have in mind about the strategy of the Heat because your theory is probably the best option any coach in his right mind would do. Even Einstein would fall of his chair saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?”. Yeah, you’re absolutely right, they dropped Game 1 to win it at home in Game 6, and their back up plan is to win it in Game 7 if all else fails. Oh dear, what are people on to nowadays…

    • david says:

      IF you think MIAMI wanted to LOSE a NBA FInals Game…. then you just must of just started watching sports…Dumbest comment ever!!!

    • KB24 says:

      You can rationalize your thoughts all you want…but that’s still a silly argument. Really? You really think that Lebron, D-Wade, and Pat Riley dropped a game in the NBA FINALS on purpose? One of the dumbest things I’ve heard all playoffs, it’s about as dumb as someone saying the Heat would sweep the Spurs.

    • Guy says:

      This comment made me laugh

  9. Jim says:

    Lewis was supposed to be a steal during the previous summer why doesn’t Spoelstra use him more often?If Battier and Allen are missing why not throw him in there and let him do his thing.

  10. wow says:

    It makes me laugh when u guys compare healthy spurs to beat up injured bulls. Crush? What a silly comment. Spurs are just warming up.

  11. artemaltman says:

    Spurs have the discipline to beat the more athletic Heat. But it won’t be easy.

  12. hipster says:

    I expect LeBron to come back stronger in game 2, but it’s not as if the Heat played bad. Bosh missed some 3s but his a lot of midrange 2s. Allen played strong, Cole drove to the rack, Wade looked much more active. The Spurs just played better.

    This is what I’ve been saying all along. People want to find similarities, and yesterday I even saw articles how the Spurs’ bigs aren’t as good as the Pacers’ bigs, but the Spurs aren’t Indiana (which took the Heat to 7 games). The Spurs are better. They are much more disciplined and dangerous.

    Kawli played great against LeBron, but he had a lot of help. I expect LeBron to be more aggressive in game 2 and take it to the rack more in an attempt to draw fouls, but I hope the Spurs can keep up their strong play.

    Go Spurs!

  13. Big Al says:

    Checking the stats, Miami have actually outrebounded San Antonio, and offensively as well. Maybe it’s just the overall point production where they have faltered. LeBron scored 7 points too little. Bosh took too many jumpers when he should have been down there. But not to worry. Heat will crush the Spurs in Game 2 like they did to the Bulls. Duncan won’t be hot for two straight games, so if Parker can be better contained, then the rest shouldn’t be a problem.

    • artemaltman says:

      Duncan doesn’t need to be hot. He’s not a streaky player.

      • Woody says:

        0 – 5 then hits some shots. hmmm not streaky?

      • Loki says:

        0-5 only to finish with 20pts, 14 rebounds. He had a bad start, nothing more. I don’t see the heat -crushing- the spurs. Maybe winning a game but crushing? Lawl this isn’t the offensively challenged Pacers. This is the same team that came back from a pitiful start in round 2 and finished the game beautifully. Same team that swept the leagues best defense in some games that weren’t even close while Miami’s season was questionable against the league’s number 2. Just saying don’t get over confident in Miami

  14. miketortak says:

    for Miami to win this series, they should adjust their Starting Line Up

    PG – Lebron James
    SG – Dwayne Wade
    SF – Chris Bosh
    PF – Adonis Haslem
    C- Chris Andersen (The Birdman)

    with this they can match up with Bigs of Spurs. and the Miami can take advantage of Size of Lebron.

    • Javier says:

      All this trouble for 3 inches??? Duncan 7 – Bosh 6-11 = 1 inch and Splitter 6-11 – Haslem 6-9. Thats 3 inches. If you toss in Lebron, there is only 1 inch difference.

  15. Angelo says:

    there’s a difference between trying to win the game and getting a triple double and trying to get triple double to win the game. the latter sacrifices some aspects of one’s game. in lebron’s case, over rebounding and pushing the ball at the same time causes fatigue. over-orchestrating takes away aggressiveness.

  16. kobe says:

    Lebron needs to score more for the Heat to win..at least 25 a night