Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Fabulous NBA Finals: Consummate King Versus Consummate Team

Talk about the perfect night. And talk about another perfect night just one day later.

Are you kiddin’ me? We’ll always remember this. The first night, a great team kills the opponent in the series clincher in the West and then, the second night, (officially) a great player kills the opponent in the defining game of the East Finals. We’re living happy days.

Wednesday night, me and my six buddies were watching Game 5 - Jazz at Spurs. Watching the perfect team effort, how to play for the team, how to move without the ball, set and use screens, make extra passes, post up, shoot, battle for rebounds, rotate on defense, scramble for loose balls and so on. The Jazz couldn’t move - thatt’s how much were they embarrassed. The Spurs dominated everything, offense, defense, whatever. Look, this wasn’t like thumping the likes of Memphis by 40 in the regular season. In fact, this was better because, needless to say, Utah is far far a superior squad than the Grizzlies.

This was the Spurs’ epic game, where everything went right. They were healthy, playing in front of the home folks and absolutely certain that the game and the series, belonged to them. The Jazz were spitting against the wind. Even in the last 12 minutes of the contest, when the Spurs had five bench-warmers on the court (Matt Bonner, Jacque Vaughn, Brent Barry, Beno Udrih and Francisco Elson), there wasn’t any thought of getting closer for Utah. That’s a sign of how good San Antonio is.

From the opening tip-off, dreams of victory were virtually deleted from Jazz’s heads.

This can’t be denied: San Antonio Spurs 2007 is the sports team which every team should try to copy. (I know, a lot of fans hate them, but c’mon, it’s nothing new that something perfect and successful is hated.) You can watch how the Spurs' reserves and starters understand and fully embrace their various roles. What's more, every player respects every contribution made by his teammates, no matter how insignificant these may appear. Did you ever hear any Spur saying “I haven’t got enough touches”? You can watch the perfect cooperation between the coaches and players. It doesn’t matter what’s your name. Duncan, Vaughn, Barry, Parker, Bowen, Horry, Bonner, Ginobili, Oberto, Elson, Udrih, Finley, White, Butler or Ely. It’s like a true family. And with Popovich, Budenholzer, Carlesimo, Brown, Newman, Engelland as a coaching stuff and as a fathers-like stuff.

T-E-A-M. Spell it.

(That’s no disrespect to that wonderful 2003 team - Duncan, David Robinson, Bowen, Ginobili, Parker, Stephen Jackson, Malik Rose, Speedy Claxton, Steve Kerr, Kevin Willis, Danny Ferry, Steve Smith.)

And to top it off, they have those rare team killer instinct, where you can’t know who’s the head of the snake. Pick your poison. You’re dead.

On the second thought, while I was looking at Timmy’s face when the game ended and the players from both teams were changing hugs and words of encouragement, I realized this: Tha San Antone Spuuurs is headed for their fourth championship in nine years.

Thursday night, me and my six buddies were watching Game 5 - Cavs at Pistons. Watching The True King and the game we’ll never ever forget. Yep, two overtimes and the score over 100 in the Cleveland-Detroit battle. But what’s the most compelling fact? One man dominated five guys. Noone couldn’t stop him. Nothing. LeBron was A-W-E-S-O-M-E.

29-of-30 points? Wow! Where have been the Pistons’ double-teamings?!

James has just simply come out of age and become a man. I’ll remember this game forever. Sometime, somewhere, I’ll be telling this to my kids, “you know, that was freakingly good... an unstoppable train... a mighty bear that kept beating a little dog...”. And then the Game 6 clincher... obviously with a young Boobie starring for 31 huge points... a lasting image from this game for me was True King jumping into Zydrunas and hugging him for 23 seconds after the buzzer sounded. I hope Rashid didn’t cross paths with 0-Webb in the locker room, cos when you have out-of-mind-Shid mixed with frustrated-loser-Webb... well, everything can happen. (Did you see Rip Hamilton’s cheap acts during the game? Who cares?)

Cleveland is an underdog for this year’s final stage, however, don’t underestimate the power of Bron - and his supporting cast is well-constructed, and their coaching stuff knows the Spurs very well... it’s gonna be fascinating. (Hey, isn’t it like Spurs-v-Spurs finals? You have Mike Brown, Hank Egan (assistant coach), GM Ferry, Lance Blanks (assistant GM) with Spurs’ roots.) (At some point, we might bring also Kerr as an analyst, sit The Admiral in the stands, get S-Jax out of the nearest jail, bring Malik from his vacation, dig out Speedy out of somewhere, bring Devo Willis from his fishing island, somehow complete it with Steve S. and you’ve got all 2003 NBA Champions.)

On the second Cavs’ thought, while I was looking at LBJ’s game and face during the Pistons series, I realized this: The Cleveland Cavaliers may be headed for their first championship ever. Just good luck, boys!

I’m looking forward to seeing the NBA Finals intro, do you remember that one from last season? MAGNIFICENT. NBA on ABC, LeBron versus Duncan, Varejao versus Bowen! (On the second though, I really miss the Roundball Rock song... any chance they’re starting games with it? In any event, Pussycat Dolls are better - in the recycle bin.)

Remember, Cleveland and Ohio and everybody outside SA, we have 6-time champion Horry in the uniform and if something’s wrong, then comes Big Shot Rob and we’re singing “Robert Horry saves the day, SAVES THE DAY...” (Btw, win it for Mike Fin, he’s a sniper and a magical man.)

Kobe Soap Opera: What’s up men? Why so much hype around trade demand/request? This is what happens basically - Kobe staying put in purple and yellow, the Lakers building more decent team thanks to some free agents and trades (Jermaine? Billups? Artest?!?). I don’t know why almost every columnist/expert writes million words about it. You know. You need one longer sentence to figure this out.

Last item: NBA Finals MVPs >>>
1. Michael Jordan 6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998) - Chicago
2. Tim Duncan 3 (1999, 2003, 2005) - San Antonio
2. Shaq O’Neal 3 (2000, 2001, 2002) - Lakers
2. Magic Johnson 3 (1980, 1982, 1987) - Lakers
3. Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston), Larry Bird - (Boston), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Milwaukee/ Lakers), Willis Reed - (New York) 2.
My prediction for 2007... Spurs - rings, LeBron - MVP.

Viva la Spurs! Viva la Finals! Viva la Blogs! One-two-three defense! ROUNDBALL ROCK!!!

p.s.: *for somebody who can't jump over a line, fab /oberto/ is phenomenal,* robert horry said.
p.s.2: *it seems like when they pick-and-roll, and manu /ginobili/ gets in the middle or tony /parker/ gets in the middle, all hell breaks loose,* carlos boozer said.
p.s.3: the cavaliers' scintillating 88-82 win over detroit was highlighted and enabled by lebron james' supernova performance. (-charley rosen)
p.s.4: both chris webber and antonio mcdyess have survived radical knee surgeries, with the latter's being considered the most serious. yet webber played /g4, cle-det/ like his knees were held together with strands of spaghetti, while mcdyess played like he had steel springs. (-charley rosen)
p.s.5: if you like good basketball, you should like the spurs. anybody who doesn't like watching tim duncan, tony parker or ginobili play might want to seek help. they might need a therapist. (-bill russell)
p.s.6: kobe bryant could (also) suggest that he really misses his old pal shaquille. (-mark kriegel)
p.s.7: every western playoff team except lal could have beaten detroit in a series. (-bill simmons)
p.s.8: /spurs-jazz, g5/ this one was won and done in the first quarter. the tell-tale sign was gregg popovich sitting on the bench early in the second quarter with his legs crossed, as relaxed as though he was in his own living room. (-charley rosen)
p.s.9: prompted by pop, spurs' perpetual quest (is) to achieve perfection. the perfect play. the perfect quarter. the perfect game. the perfect series. (-charley rosen)
p.s.10: /on lebron, pistons-cavs, g5/ an absolutely jordanesque performance! (-charley rosen)
p.s.11: *to try to complete it and get the ring for mike finley,* popovich said, *would be a great thrill for all of us.*
p.s.12: it seems that billups can't wait until July 1 when he's officially a free agent and has the opportunity to get as far away from rasheed as possible. (-charley rosen)
p.s.13: *the spurs,* hubie brown says, *won't just be remembered as one of the greatest teams in league history. they'll also go down as one of the best organizations, from top to bottom, that's ever been.*

Posted by Foreigner in CS - Jun 5 2007 2:03PM

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