With the 2013 NBA Finals set to begin, one cannot help but think that the defending champion Miami Heat have all but booked their after-parties and champagne.
Thanks to one of the most dominating regular seasons in NBA history by newly crowned NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James and the Heat’s captivating 27-game win streak, NBA commissioner David Stern should just hand the Larry O’Brien trophy to Heat owner Micky Arison and call it a day right?
With all due respect to fans of the Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies, but the entire 2013 NBA Playoffs have been nothing more but a pre-ordained coronation—and farce—of the Heat as one of the all-time great NBA teams, as well as validation of LeBron’s “decision”
In thoroughly—and almost hilariously—easy fashion, the Heat dispatched of an overmatched Milwaukee Bucks squad and an under-manned and gutsy Chicago Bulls team playing without Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng.
Would any of these players helped against the Heat?
Doubtful, but it is what it is.
This coming from a lifelong fan of LeBron’s former team is bad enough, but due to the inevitable reality of the situation at hand, it is time for all the haters outside of South Beach to get used to the sight of the “Big Three” hoisting up championship banners and parading down Biscayne Boulevard.
While I cannot take personal credit for coining the term, “Miami Heat Invitational” as Paul Coro at AZCentral.com beat me too it back in April, I would love to expand on it going forward into the upcoming NBA Finals and as a true basketball fan, let’s be real here for a second and look at the body of work that the remaining contestants in this media-manufactured reality show that is called the 2013 NBA playoffs, shall we?
You have a tough, physical and team-oriented team in the Pacers, who won the Central Division and beat the Heat twice in the regular season, while this all good and dandy, that was the regular season, and we all know that the real season begins now, while I will give them two games, look for the Heat to effortlessly dispose of the pesky Pacers in six games.
Out west, you have the gritty and physical Grizzlies, who would set a franchise record in wins with 56 and ground the high-flying Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder—sans Russell Westbrook.
While OKC did not have the services of it’s flashy loose cannon of a guard in Westbrook, bottom line is that Memphis made Kevin Durant look more like Robin to Westbrook’s Batman.
Can the Grizzlies beat the Heat? Yes. Will they? No.
Not in a seven-game series, unless Memphis can keep Miami from getting out in transition, which is about as often as stopping a child from running amok in a toy store.
Then there is San Antonio, the veteran Spurs triumvirate of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili may be the only team capable of giving Miami a serious challenge in the fact that they are experienced, have consistent three-point shooting, a knack for playing defense in the half-court and no fear of the hype behind the Heat.
Mind you that it was San Antonio that was fined by the NBA—Stern in particular—for sending Parker, Duncan, Ginobili and Danny Green home when these teams played in Miami, the point is, both of these teams would be a perfect match in contrasts.
The old guard of the Spurs vs the new blood of Miami. flash vs fundamentals and the gritty Spurs defense vs the up-and-down Heat track team in overpriced Nikes.
If there is one team that COULD beat Miami, it is San Antonio, will they?
Simply due to the Heat having the eyes and hunger of a champion out to silence the critics/haters and as a bonus, LeBron would also get a chance to exact some revenge on the Spurs for sweeping him in the Finals when he was with those ill-fated Cavaliers in 2007.
As it stands now, the NBA title is Miami’s to lose—and lose alone. So unless the 2013 Heat magically morph into the hapless 1988-89 team, the winner of the Spurs-Grizzlies matchup will be playing for the right to be no more than a brief footnote in the Heatle’s march to hardwood greatness.
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