[dropcap]M[/dropcap]IAMI – Despite an improbable and acrobatic shot by Tony Parker, the defending champion Miami Heat may be down 0-1 in the 2013 NBA Finals, but they are far from out.
Parker’s shot with 5.2 seconds left, lifted the San Antonio Spurs to a 92-88 win and 1-0 lead, while the legion of Heat detractors—and haters—are quick to celebrate, it would be wise to not write off the Heat so quickly.
Make no mistake, after watching this game, this writer came away impressed with the Spurs poise and ability to match Miami shot for shot, in addition to daring a slumping Chris Bosh and a hobbled Dwayne Wade to beat them, they also went back to their “Cleveland days” in holding the defending Most Valuable Player in LeBron James to 2-of-8 shooting in the fourth quarter.
Whether it was fatigue from coming from a tough and hard-fought war against the physical Indiana Pacers, or they had an off night, the Heat certainly didn’t play like it. Still, that didn’t stop the so-called “Worldwide Leader in Sports” from making excuses and apologizing for the Heat’s struggles down the stretch.
How about giving the Spurs some credit, eh?
The way that it sounded, it came across as if Parker’s circus-like shot was something right of Cirque de Soleil and that the immortal Heat being down to the Spurs is just a fluke, right? The constant narrative repeated all day was that the Heat have lost the first game in their last four series in the Big Three era and bounced back to win the next four.
We also heard about the Heat’s propensity in winning 10 consecutive games following a loss, and that the Game 1 winner in the last two NBA Finals(Heat in 2011 and Thunder in 2012) have lost the last two finals, despite the winner of Game 1 winning 71.2 percent of the time.
Clearly, the Spurs were not impressed, as they went about their business the way they have for the last decade and a half in being solid, tough and disciplined.
While Heat Nation may be down but not out in being down 0-1, let’s get one thing clear, these are the San Antonio Spurs, not the Derrick Rose-less, Nate Robinson-led Chicago Bulls, Danny Granger-less, point guard-deficient Indiana Pacers, nor the starstruck Oklahoma City Thunder making their debutante début in the NBA Finals.
This is a veteran team who has the best winning percentage in the last 14 years(.644), four NBA titles (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007), three future Hall of Famers in Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, and unlike Chicago, Indiana and Oklahoma City have poise, experience and a real coach in Gregg Popovich.
By the way, did I fail to mention that the Spurs—not the Heat—are also undefeated in the Finals and boast a perfect record of 4-0, or that Popovich has the second-best record all-time after winning Game 1 of a seven-game series with a record of 20-3?
Heat Nation may not need to go on high alert yet, but if Miami doesn’t play any better real soon, they could suffer a proverbial stroke.
If there is one thing that can clearly be gleaned from Game One is that while the Pacers provided the blueprint in how to beat the Heat in being physical, San Antonio appears to have found the perfect elixir in dethroning the Evil Empire from South Beach in; 1.) keeping the game close, 2.) limit turnovers(only four) and 3.) run your offense through a top-notch point guard like Parker.
It’s no secret and common knowledge that the Heat’s two most glaring weakness’ are defending quality point guards and in the low post, and those happen to be two areas thanks to Parker and Duncan that the Spurs can simply feast on during what will be a seven-game classic.
This isn’t about hate, just a simple fact, that the Heat—if they do win—have their work cut out for them in the Spurs, and if they lose in Game Two and are down 0-2, with the next three games in the Spurs barn, there could be a serious tropical depression forming over the 305 soon.
Robert D. Cobb is the Founder/CEO/Senior Editor-In-Chief Of The Inscriber : Digital Magazine, for questions, comments and concerns email me at [email protected] follow me on Twitter @RC_TheInscriber and follow The Inscriber : Digital Magazine on Twitter at @TheInscriber