The NBA: Basketball Perfection: 2014 San Antonio Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs blitzed the Miami Heat in 5 games.
They won by an average of 18 points while losing one by 2 points.
(Image from: USA Today Sports) 
As I watched the San Antonio Spurs dismantle, obliterate and bamboozle the back-to-back champions Miami Heat, I couldn't help but admire and appreciate the Spurs' current style of basketball. The Spurs truly played an excellent brand of hoops and it was scintillating to watch even if it involved my Miami Heat getting destroyed in the Finals. The SAS displayed basketball perfection and I'm not sure if there is any team out there capable of beating them in the Finals and maybe even next season especially since there's a good chance that everyone important will be back.

Truth be told, the Spurs could have won the Finals in 4 games especially if they made their free-throws in Game 2. Heck, if they played all 7 games, the Spurs would probably win all of them. They were simply the BETTER team and it wasn't even close. The disparity in the scores and stats surprised me. It didn't surprise me that the Spurs won BUT the relative ease of beating Miami handily shocked me. Now, if you're wondering about the stats, here are some things to ponder...

The Spurs won four games by an average of 18 points and lost one game by just 2 points. They consistently shot a higher percentage (53% to 47%) over the best shooting team during the regular season. San Antonio dominated the team assists 25.4/game against Miami's paltry 15.2/game. The difference of 10 assists automatically translated to at least 20 points in favor of the Spurs. I'm certain that a handful of those dimes resulted in a three-point shot. By the way, SAS also made more threes, 55 to 46 and the Spurs naturally shot a higher percentage from long range. One more final stat: the Spurs' bench averaged 37.6 points while the Heat could only muster 21.4 points from their reserves. After seeing all of that, did Miami really have a chance to win more games or even win the series?
The Spurs have 5 championships in their franchise (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014)

The Spurs epitomized team basketball and their sharing of the ball was contagious and a joy to witness. I'm not sure if Miami could have done anything differently to prevent San Antonio from winning it all. SAS used multiple pick and rolls to force Miami to collapse and help on defense while leaving a bunch of open perimeter players. The Spurs made the extra, extra, extra pass and they made MOST of their shots. It also helped that they were open and uncontested jumpers. 

Miami's only hope of winning the series rested on LeBron James' ability to deliver legendary games. Take note, the word "games" is plural. Unfortunately, LBJ could not come up with more than one "takeover" game and he needed help from the rest of the team BUT it never materialized. There was no vintage game from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh was mostly invisible again. The Heat needed everyone to contribute but role players like Chris Andersen, Wario Chalmers and Shane Battier failed to show up in the Finals.

The Heat oddly played like the Cleveland Cavaliers circa 2007 (LBJ and scrubs). This happened because D-Wade looked slow, old and lethargic. Wade shot poorly from the floor, committed a bunch of turnovers and his defense was beyond atrocious. It was so bad that comparisons to James Harden and his "killer" defense seemed appropriate. Let's not forget Chris Bosh who thoroughly got outplayed by any front-line player from the Spurs. Overall, the Spurs had a magnificent game plan and they were able to execute that while the Heat had no answers whatsoever. 

Kawhi Leonard was named Finals MVP after
he delivered on both sides of the court
If the NBA Finals MVP trophy could be given to a whole team, the Spurs would absolutely have won that. However, Kawhi Leonard was also deserving to be named Finals MVP (Honorable mentions to Boris Diaw and Manu Ginobili). Kawhi did a solid job defending LeBron and Leonard even notched double-doubles in Games 4 and 5. Coach Pop was so confident and supportive of Leonard that they even ran isolation plays for Kawhi and he delivered. Kawhi was so good on both ends of the court that if you took him out of the series, Miami would probably be celebrating their three-peat. We are in the midst of a budding All-Star and it's wonderful to see Leonard remain humble and appreciative of his teammates and coaches.  

San Antonio ran their offense like a well-oiled machine and they finished the race to 16 wins with sheer dominance. It was like a thoroughbred racehorse competing against farm animals. The Spurs also came into this season with more focus, desire, motivation and effort. They wanted to avenge their loss last year and they certainly accomplished that. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker had their moments during the Finals but it was their collective effort and solid contributions that assured San Antonio would collect their 5th ring in franchise history. This Big 3 trumped anyone that Miami had and it was a lopsided contest because the others came to play and it was over way faster than most expected (including me).

Now, the next question... can the Spurs repeat??? Stay tuned.

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1 Comment

if they get everyone back and stay healthy the whole yr, i think they can definitely repeat. only okc matches well with them.