Lost in the commotion about Lebron’s cramps, Lebron’s greatness, San Antonio’s lack of air conditioning, and whether or not Tim Duncan personally owns the Fountain of Youth is the fact that the 2014 NBA Finals have been an All You Can Eat Buffet of Great Coaching. Gregg Popovich and Erik Spoelstra have gone all in on each other for the 2nd year in a row, and the Debate couldn’t be happier to sit back and watch them match wits. The following is a simple breakdown of a GREAT Spurs play design countered by GREAT Miami defense:
ANATOMY OF A PLAY (from both an Offense and Defensive Perspective)
THE SET: Spurs 1-4 Misdirection Hand Off
Anyone watching the Playoffs has seen San Antonio reinvent the term “misdirection” in hoops. They are MASTERFUL at the art of occupying either ballside or helpside defenders with cuts and screens meant to keep you busy enough to miss where they are really attacking from (These Guys Would Be Proud) . Continue reading
Lebron James is undoubtedly the best player in the NBA right now, and it has sparked the comparisons to Michael Jordan because of it. But watching James unable to play down the stretch of Game 1 of the NBA Finals provided yet another reason why he will never be Michael Jordan – mental toughness. While James may have still put up 25 points in the Heat’s 11-95 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, his inability to go out there at the end of the game directly related to the Spurs running away with Game 1 late. While the lack of air conditioning was a factor, Michael Jordan has gone out in much worse conditions than LeBron was in at the end of the game.
It was hard to watch Game 1 without think about Jordan’s “flu game” in the 1997 finals. In Game 5, Jordan went out there barely able to walk due to what was likely food poisoning. Jordan still went out there and scored 38 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists. To top it all off, when he was feeling worst, Jordan scored 15 points in the fourth quarter. This included a three-pointer to give the Bulls an 88-85 lead with 25 seconds left before being carried off the court by his running mate Scottie Pippen. Jordan’s ability to go out there at his worst and perform at his best cemented his legacy as an all-time great. Continue reading
Ok…relax. Spurs fans are calling this a series win already just minutes after game 1. Relax. Please. It’s not like the Miami Heat were blown out the whole game. It was simply a 4th quarter collapse that allowed the Spurs to take over and close out the game. With the air conditioning out at the AT&T center, temperatures reportedly reached as high as 88 degrees!
They out scored them 36-17 in the 4th en route to a 110-95 win at home taking a 1-0 series lead. Danny Green lead the way with 3 wide open three pointers in the final 6 minutes part of a 31-9 run. Tim Duncan had 21 points and 10 rebounds in the win as well. Mario Chalmers got into foul trouble committing 5 in only his first 13 minutes of playing time. LeBron James lead the way with 25 points, but was sidelined down the stretch with muscle tightness. Despite leaving early, he and the team except him to be ready for game 2. Continue reading