Friday, June 28, 2013

NBA Finals Review

It's been a week since the Heat won the title, and I'm stilled pretty bummed.  Not because of the team that won, but because the series ended.  Going into the Finals, I was excited about Duncan-LeBron and the two best teams in the league squaring off.  All three delivered.  It was great to see the Tim Duncan of 10 years ago.  He started out a little slow, but he picked it up the last four games; especially the last two, where he averaged 27 points and 14.5 rebounds.  As we're nearing the end of Duncan's career, it was great to see the Tim Duncan of old, instead of just old Tim Duncan.

Similar to Duncan, LeBron also started out slow and picked it up in the last four games (where he averaged 31.8 points, 6.8 assists, and 9.8 rebounds).  The end of game six and game seven were especially impressive, when LeBron made it perfectly clear that he's the best player in the world and it's not even close.  But while he's clearly the best player, he can still not be the most consistently dominant.  His start to the series resembled his 2011 Finals performance and he ended the series resembling his 2012 Finals performance.  It was quite bizarre.  People can say that the chatter about LeBron's mentality can stop now, but if the Spurs had made FTs in game 6 and the Heat lose the title, wouldn't everyone be talking about LeBron not showing up?  Luckily for the Heat, the best player in the world did show up, but he almost showed up too late.

Finally, the thing I was most looking forward to was the high level of basketball that would be played.  And this series did not come up short.  It started out exciting, with a great game one.  And while the next four games were blowouts, the alternating displays of dominance showed how evenly matched these teams were;  which perfectly set the stage for the final two games.  The first five games were all entertaining for their own reasons, but the last two games were basketball at its best.  Game six was one of the craziest, most exciting games I've ever seen.  Game seven was predicted to be sloppy, and while it started out that way, it turned out to be good.  These teams were just too good to play bad basketball for 48 minutes in an all-or-nothing game.  It was a great end to a great series.

The only negatives to the series were that someone had to lose and that the series had to end.  It sucked to see Duncan come up short, but it sucked more that this series is over.  Every year, there's talk about the format of the Finals being 2-3-2.  This year, that wasn't the problem.  The problem was that it wasn't 2-2-2-2-1-1-1.  There have been other NBA Finals that were more satisfying from a rooting interests standpoint, but from a quality of basketball standpoint, this one was the most satisfying.  Too bad it had to end.

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