SAN ANTONIO — We can only assume that everybody will eventually show up for a date in June.
In two games this season between the two best teams in the NBA, the list of the missing could make up the core of an All-Star team, if not partially fill a wing in the Hall of Fame.
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green never even bothered to touch down in Miami back in November, instead boarding a Southwest Airlines flight from Orlando straight to home. For that little stunt by coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs were reprimanded and fined $250,000 by commissioner David Stern.
At least LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers were in the house at the AT&T Center on Sunday night, but they weren’t in uniform and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was quick to offer up everything from video of the previous game to doctor’s notes to DNA mapping of the infirmed as proof that this was not tit-for-tat.
“I can see where you guys would draw those conclusions, but no,” he told reporters.
So how come the rest of the world can’t help but see this as a tale with more behind-the-crown royal conniving than “Game of Thrones”?
Give the Heat the leg up in the head games with their undermanned 88-86 win that came on Chris Bosh’s 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left in the game.
“It is very special to us,” Bosh said after ringing up 23 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. “Just to be able to compete at a high level continuously, no matter who we put out there.”
Even the league office seemed to get in on the big tease by assigning burr-under-the-saddle lead referee Joey Crawford to the game in San Antonio, where he is historically an antagonist rivaled only by Gen. Santa Anna.
There is little the commissioner can do this time except throw up his hands in frustration and, with retirement looming in barely 10 months, know this will then be Adam Silver’s conundrum. (more…)