The Aging Spurs vs The Dominate Heat
What a down right gutsy and impressive finish by the San Antonio Spurs to stave off the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, punching their ticket to yet another NBA Finals. Overtime felt like it would be too much for the Spurs, watching Duncan and Ginobili gasp their way through it. But a few big shots in key moments proved enough. Overtime score: Spurs - 112 , OK Thunder - 107 .
The Miami Heat also punched their very own ticket for the 4th straight year into the title series. Their divisive 117-92 victory over the Pacers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals solidified that. So, 2014 will be the year of Lebron-Bosch-Wade & company vs. Parker-Ginobili-Duncan & company. This will actually be a re-match of last year's finals.
The Spurs have been a team that many have prematurely written off time and time over. That mostly has to do with the age of their play makers: Tony Parker is 32. Not terribly old, but getting up there. Parker is a 6-time NBA All-Star and was the 2007 NBA Finals MVP. Watching his play throughout the last few years though, he looks to have at least a few more solid years of formidable play left. The Spurs leading point guard's allusive ball handling skills should never be taken lightly. And then there's Tim Duncan, the 14-time NBA All-Star center and 3-time NBA Finals MVP. Duncan is 38 years old. Ginobili is no young man either. At 36, he is close to considering the word retirement too. Although, I'm sure he could still knock down 3's with the best of them well into his 40's, maybe even 50's.
The Spurs starting 3 hasn't changed for some time. And neither has their focus on fast break points, fundamentals, and sound play. If you do not play smart and accurate against the Spurs, history has shown that their shot making ability and attention to defense and detail will eat away at you. Good luck making it through a series against them. That's why they continue to be successful, despite the aging stars. Explains their championship wins in the 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007 NBA Finals. And their 2013 Conference title as well. 2014 could add yet another championship tally. That is, if they can contain the Miami Heat. Recent history has shown that even as good as the Spurs are, the Heat are better.
Ever since Lebron James left the Cavaliers and teamed up with Bosch and Wade over in Miami, the Heat have been almost unstoppable. That was 4 seasons ago, and the squad has made it to the finals every year they have played together. The Dallas Mavericks got the best of them the first year in what was my all time favorite NBA finals series back in 2011 (I am from Dallas after all). But the Heat came back the very next year and were crowned champs in easy enough fashion. This Miami team has won it all in both of the last two seasons. The Heat really do dominate the Eastern Conference. And it looks like the stacked trio will for quite some time. Wade is deadly when he gets on fire. Bosch is a beast of a presence down below. And Lebron has been dubbed "King James" for a reason. He really is the best all around baller the NBA has likely ever seen, outside of MJ.
This re-match of the two perennials of the NBA promises to be a good show. With Lebron coming off a 2013 NBA Finals MVP win and his second championship ring, the Heat are in the middle of some kind of awesome stride. The momentum of which seems unlikely to stop. But, if any team from the West can do it, the Spurs have proven that they have what it takes. Last year, the finals came down to Game 7. I expect this year's back and forth to be every bit as competitive. The format changes this year from 3-2, to 2-2-2-1-1. Lots of traveling will be involved. Home court will play less a factor. But for age and jet-lag, my money would be on King James and the Big Three to best the tried-and-true Spurs. We shall see.