Anyone that predicted that the Heat would take this series or the Spurs will take this series are simply wrong. As the resident NBA nut in my circle of peers, my friends love to ask me who I think is going to win the Finals. Last year I picked Miami with confidence. The year before I had the Mavericks as my darkhorse pick way early in the season.
So what did I answer when I was asked the million dollar question?
I said I don’t know, and that it is probably going to 7 games.
In a piece I cowrote for Last Word on Sports, I said
This is a prediction I am not comfortable making at all… Even if you put a gun to my head I’d struggle to make a prediction. But for the sake of this column… Spurs in 7? It is an odd-numbered year after all.
And that is the right answer. This has been one the wildest NBA Finals series I’ve ever watched. LeBron is coming off an amazing regular season, and has probably been the most mature he’s ever been. Watching the post game-interview of Game 7 of the Pacers series gave me chills.
Was this the same immature dipshit that left Cleveland three years ago?
Meanwhile his butt buddy Dwyane Wade is having one of the more underrated seasons of his career. Chris Bosh is actually being respected around the league. Ray Allen, the improved play of Norris Cole, and the surprise emergence of Birdman Andersen has bolstered the non-existent Miami bench from the year before. Mike Miller is peaking at the right time, and Erik Spoelstra is really getting the respect he deserves from the media.
With San Antonio, it seems like everyone on the Spurs (including our Finals MVP Danny Green) is just peaking at the right time. The 2012-13 NBA campaign marks the best individual seasons of many of the Spurs players, perfectly aligned with a resurgent Duncan season. Then don’t forget about Popovich reaching the pinnacle of his coaching career.
Mix in the rematch storyline, Big 3s Vs. Big 3s, Old vs. New, the first time the Spurs are playing a societally relevant basketball team in the Finals and LeBron James’s biggest test on the big stage, a great coaching battle, timed with perhaps the most popular the NBA has ever been, and you have a perfect, unpredictable storm.
What’s going to happen later tonight? Conventional wisdom says the Heat are coming back to force a Game 7. San Antonio’s mental toughness and experience might favor them to close out this series in 6, but you can never really bet against the greatest basketball player on the planet (Although teenage, acne-faced Jordan once made this bet…)
LeBron averages a league high 31.5 PPG and an absurd amount of rebounds in elimination games. There is no true key to the game. While many thought the Heat’s main concern would either be trying to contain Tony Parker or to handle the twin towers of Duncan and Splitter, it has really been about mental toughness, consistency and shutting down Danny Green.
My prediction? Heat force a Game 7, but just barely. Game 7 will be a complete bloodbath with every player playing their guts out, and Popovich surprises everyone by bringing out T-Mac for meaningful minutes. No matter what happens after this series, I will certainly remember it as a classic, and I would sum up the finale of a great NBA season with four simple words.