Sunday, June 16, 2013

Heat - Spurs Game Five: Either I'm Dwunque, Or Manu's Good Again

Tonight, With Cause
Here's a confession: I don't have a good relationship with alcohol. There's lots of family history with it, and I've never woke up with a hangover, mostly because I always become very aware of That Way Lies Madness, and pull back from excess. So at age 44, I know my limits and don't push them, and since I'm a hobbit (5'-4", 142 pounds), it really doesn't take much to get me, in the words of an adorable French-Canadian quasi-mother-in-law, dwunque. And that's what happened in a random Trader Joe's dinner that I put together, then capped off with port (I love port!) and cheese and chocolate. So I'm all kinds of altered at the start of this one, and happy about it. Basketball is ending, I'm going to Blog Hard to remember everything later, then spend the next three months trying to care about baseball, and praying that there are scandals to fill the bloghole and keep this a lucrative habit. Wee!

Darius Rucker is on hand to sing the National Anthem, and it's nice that he dressed up for the occasion -- t-shirt and jeans. Guess that Hootie money means you don't need to care very much, eh Darius? Mike Miller starts again for the Heat, because, well, he's the better idea. Manu Ginoboli also starts, possibly out of a Gregg Popovich challenge move, and he pays off early with a make on Chris Bosh. The refs blow the call and give the Spurs a gift point; alert conspiracy theorists! Dwyane Wade responds, but Manu feeds for the room service deuce. Wade is enjoying his new found jumper, but Manu feeds Tim Duncan for another slam  and hey, it's interesting that he's not sucking. Wow, my lights are bright. And my kid showed up in the middle of the action and distracted me from everything. Perhaps I need to drink more port. Danny Green wins a tip, Manu feeds Duncan and the Spurs look feisty. Green fails to dunk, James does not, and it's 11-8 Spurs. Wade gets away with a walk, Green doesn't get a call but blocks the play coming back, and Bosh ends Manu on a drive. Wade with another make, and this is the kind of ball that makes a man like pro hoop. Manu sinks another three, he's got 8 now, and rumors of his death are greatly exaggerated. Wade to Bosh for a deuce, and Popovich takes a timeout. 16-12 Spurs as we go to commerce, and that's just great hoop.

The refs take away the Manu gift point. Aww, I wanted a conspiracy! The Heat get a make and have a chance to take the lead, but James turns it, and then Green with a terrible airball. Wade turns it back. Duncan works Bosh like a three dollar whore, and yes, I'm still dwunque. James line drives a three and we're tied; all a road team can ask for 7.5 minutes in. Bosh picks up a foul as Boris Diaw waddles in. Manu sits. Parker embarrasses Norris Cole as Jeff Van Gundy praises Mario Chalmers, who is no longer on the floor. Is he dwunque too? One make for the lead at 18-17. Cole's three is a shot put and awful, and Duncan catches low and gets a call on Miller. One make is all, and it's a 2-point lead. Diaw on James, who inexplicably settles for the early jumper and misses. Parker leans and makes; pretty. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra calls time and it's a 4-point lead into the money minutes.

ESPN flashes that the Big 3 for Miami have scored all of their points; hmm. Parker makes two at the line, helpful, and it's a 6-point Spur lead. Wade misses on Duncan's defense, and Parker owns Cole to make it 8. Wade feeds Haslem at the rim, but he fails, and Gary Neal's deuce makes it a 10-point lead on a 10-0 run. Wade misses and the Heat aren't getting a lot out of James right now. Parker is called for the obvious travel and complains about it; the gods of karma will not appreciate that, Tony! Mario Chalmers turns, Neal heaves early, but Diaw saves it, feeds Kawhi Leonard for the stuff, and the run is now 12-0. Do the Heat want this game, or is this another every-other series for them? 29-17 Spurs with a minute left in the first. Shane Battier misses off good ball movement, but the Heat get the o-board and Ray Allen converts; encouraging for Miami. Leonard answers with the corner three, and another Heat miss ends the quarter. Spurs 32, Heat 19, and that's just about the best possible quarter for the home team, and for ABC/ESPN. (Yes, the ratings for this Finals have been good.)

A small and obvious point about the ads: talking babies who crap themselves are no reason to buy a car, and Designed by Apple in California is designed to make me not think about their sweat shop labor in Asia, or their accounting in the world's tax havens. It's not working in either case.

Spoelstra hates his team in the quarter interview; always amusing. Battier makes a corner three, but Splitter runs the floor and slams; Diaw with a block, but the Spurs turn on the other end. James with an airball; this hasn't been his finest hour. The Spurs stretch it to 14 and turn it, but Wade's foot is out of bounds, and that's just good luck for the home team. Splitter turns, and this isn't his best series. Battier misses, but Bosh gets the board and gets to the line as we go to ads. (And my family goes to chaos. Port does not make all of us agreeable.)

ESPN notes that Miami is shooting 27% from the floor; hmm. A couple of Bosh makes in front of a Chalmers foul, and wow, does he have expressive eyebrows. Green makes yet another three off good ball movement for the 15-point Spurs lead. Bosh follow Wade's miss; still not much from James. Splitter with the slow-motion turn. Bosh misses, Green with Yet Another Three, and it's a 16-point game. Shades of Game 3?

Green with Yet Another Three, and he's threatening to put this out of reach. The Heat get back to some equilibrium, and Battier sneaks a possession on dirty play. Bosh with a stop, James with a slam, Popovich irate with cause. The lead is cut to 11 with a quickness, and we're going to have a game after all.

Diaw walks after time out as ESPN focuses on Green. Allen gets a 4-point play on Parker with Parker making a mistake; huge play, and the run is 10-0 Heat. Diaw misses as the Spurs pay the price for playing him. James makes it an even dozen in a 2:03 span. Duncan at the end of the clock stops the bleeding. Wade misses an easy drive. Bosh hacks Duncan obviously, and the Spurs are clearly looking for their Hall of Famer. Leonard misses a three, takes a foul, then gets owned by James. 5-point game as the Series of Runs continues. Green goes to the line as the Heat, and Ray Allen, overplay the three. Green gets two at the line, which helps. James is lightning quick on the post on Green for a deuce, and why he doesn't do that on every trip, we'll never know. Manu with an old-school foul draw and a make. James to the line on a weak call against Green, and karma dictates a miss. Duncan with the low catch from Manu and make; that's all day on early offense. Allen misses and the Spurs look runnerish. Parker misses the corner three, but James misses in transition, then throws a hissy fit. Battier takes a three-foul on Manu, and the idea that he's angry about that is why people hate Duke. Manu with three makes and it's back to a 10-point Spurs lead. Manu's best game of the Finals by far; Popovich with the genius move to start him. Battier's corner three is a big answer; Parker makes over him. Wade right back; just great ball right now. Parker with the early 2-for-1 miss. Bosh miss and Battier gets away with a cheap no-call; again, why people hate Duke, for the surface class and the true dirt. Parker makes on a great drive at the buzzer, and that's the half. Spurs 62, Heat 51, and I have to get my kids to bed. Wee!

I get back halfway through the third as Wade cuts it to four, but Green stops James on a drive -- wow -- and Parker converts. Big swing. Chalmers misses a three, Neal does as well, and James falls heavily, prompting a Heat timeout. It says something to how well Green has played that he got away with that contact. James with the bad corner miss leading to a Parker make in transition, and Tony looks better in this second half than Game 4. Wade responds, and he's not letting up, either. Bosh with the hook over Green, just to remind everyone that he is, in fact, tall. As well as the Spurs have played, they are only up 4 in the third quarter, at home, with James not doing much yet.

An aside: if you still enjoy Adam Sandler movies, please close this browser and do not return to this site. If you like his work and mine, I might have to off myself.

Neal draws a foul on Allen; nice move. Manu can't finish, but Battier blows the three; Miami gets an absurd call on Manu with continuation, and so much for Refs Conspiring For A Longer Series. 7-0 Heat run in the Series of Runs, so Green just makes from half court. Well, not quite, but close. Wow. Manu blocks Wade, then gets lucky to avoid a turn. Manu owns Allen, and this is a throwback game for the ages for him; old-school three for the mini-run. Spurs crowd cheering "Manu!" now, for cause. 7-point lead, and a miss; Manu with Yet Another, and with 14 minutes left, the Spurs lead by 9. Allen nearly turns it, and then Bosh does, as Miami looks rattled by the Manu Revival. Miami ratchets up the defense, but Manu feeds Splitter for a layup, and wow. 11 point lead. Miami turn by Coles and Haslem, as James is once again absent. Manu misses the heat check three. James gets to the line on Diaw and Splitter, but misses one as Diaw leaves; James FT attempts are down for the series, which is what happens when you flop. Manu ends the quarter with a make, Battier misses from half court, and it's a Spurs 12-1 run, 7 by Manu, to end the quarter. Spurs Fan chants Manu; it's 87-75 Spurs, and we're 12 minutes away from Miami having to win both games in South Beach for a title. America has had worse times.

Manu misses a bad three on a worse possession. Haslem with a push off turnover; Heat supporting cast not doing much tonight. Second straight bad possession by the Spurs ends on a Splitter heave that does not draw iron; Popovich waves in the starters. James misses on Diaw; the idea that the Heat are in a game where James is this ordinary, and that James looks ordinary with 22/4, is telling. Manu Again, and he's got 22 now, with 9 assists; wow. This might be the last home game of Ginobili's Spurs career, and he's playing as well as he ever has. Spurs lead by 14 as we go to commerce, and the Heat defense at the arc? Not working.

Wade denied with no call by Duncan. Leonard hits the three, and that might be the kill shot: Spurs up 17 with 10 minutes left. James misses twice, Green once, but Duncan taps it in, and if this were a fight, it would be topped. 19 point lead for the Spurs, timeout Miami, and after 4.8 games of this series, the only thing I can tell you about these teams is that they really don't ever seem to play well at the same time.

James now 1 for his last 9, 7 for 20, and far from the best player on the floor. Diaw fouls before an inbounds with a reaction for the ages. Chalmers misses the karma free throw as ESPN plays the clip of Popovich's life: "Give them some adversity! Pound the stuffing out of them!" Leonard to the line for two makes, and it's 20 with 9 minutes left. Wade misses, and Diaw takes a terrible foul that was obvious from seconds away; Chalmers got away with one. Allen with another 4-point play on a Green foul, and the Spurs seem determined to keep this game in doubt. Chalmers takes his fifth with cause. Green with a floater, now has 21, and Allen answers with the wide-open corner three. Duncan misses on Bosh, and then slams on a Wade feed; 13 point game with 7:30 left. Miami is making this a game without James; not something they've done a lot of recently. Interesting.

The Spurs need a run to keep us from an interesting close. Manu does not drive on Miller, and Parker misses; 7 minutes left, and the Spurs look like they are trying to protect a lead. Miller's illegal screen wipes a Wade bucket off the boards. Duncan owns on a spin and bank; gorgeous. Wade makes over Duncan, and he's been their best player tonight. Manu makes over James, and the teams are trading hoops and taking time off the clock. Leonard steals one, Manu misses, but Leonard gets the board. Parker runs clock, then gets a foul on Miller, and we're not far from Garbage Time Again. 17 point Spurs lead with 5:18 left.

James to Bosh for an easy lay up. Parker makes an absurd flip. Tick, tick, tick. James with the forced turnover, and it's getting mathematically impossible. Parker drives and draws the foul on Wade, because he's smart and stuff. Spurs Fan chants MVP because that's what every local fan with a star does; one make pushes it to 18. Shock troops soon? Wade nearly turns it. Allen with a too-easy catch and 3-point play; it seems like all of his points are on continuation tonight. Parker with another make, and the Heat have no answer for his penetration tonight. James with the old-school three after an uncalled walk. Green misses a three, and then Allen makes from the corner after missing at the rim, and drama is still possible. Parker travels, and it's an 11-point game with 2:32 left. James with the moving screen wipes off a three for Allen, and there's no avoiding the goat horns for LeBron tonight. Commerce.

Spurs turn; Manu's magic may be running thin. Allen with the easy back door cut; 9 point game with 2 minutes left, and the Spurs turn it again. This would be hardcore theft for the Heat. Wade misses a dunk and goes to the line, and the Spurs haven't gotten a stop in forever. He only gets one. Parker saves them with a drive and make. James misses at the tin. Green shoots and hits the three rather than running clock, because he's a callow youth and Can Not Freaking Miss. That is your ballgame, and if there's a player in the NBA that's done more for his reputation in these playoffs than Green, I haven't seen him. He's got 25 three pointers in five games -- good grief, a new NBA Finals record -- and 24 tonight when his team needed all of them. Shock troops in, and James Jones closes the scoring. Spurs 114, Heat 104, San Antonio with 2 chances to win the series in Miami as James gets out of town like he's got to catch a bus.

Manu ends tonight with 24/10 and gets the post-game interview, and if you want to give this to him, fine... but I credit Popovich for giving Ginobili the start, which changed the whole vibe of his game tonight. Spurs Fan has, as their last memory of their 2012-13 team, their sweetest win. Game Six is Tuesday night, in what has to be considered one of the best playoffs ever. Hope you are enjoying it as much as I am.


Snd_dsgnr said...

I have three questions for you.

1. If the Spurs wrap this up in six with Green hitting another 4 or 5 threes, is there actually a realistic chance he could be MVP?

2. Do you think the Heat will blow it up if they lose? Try to trade Bosh or maybe even Wade?

3. If the Spurs win and Duncan and Ginobili retire, could they wind up in the sweepstakes for some free agents?

DMtShooter said...

1) Possible, but he'd need to be the best player on the floor in the win. In the Spurs' second and third wins, Green is great, but not the margin of victory: Gary Neal and Manu Ginobili are as vital. In the first, it's Tony Parker being the best player on the floor in the fourth. My gut says it's Parker in the event of a Spurs win.

2) Probably not. They have gone to 3 straight Finals, and Wade's looked like his old self the past 2 games. If James wants someone gone, they'll be gone, but I don't get the sense that he wants either of them out. But I wouldn't be buying a house if I were any other member of the Heat.

3) They do have the Texas income tax advantage, and it's a good ownership situation. Having said that, San Antonio isn't exactly a party town: single franchise, heavy military presence, and an absurd legacy to live up to (Gervin, Robinson, Duncan -- yikes). For good or ill, this isn't a target for the Chris Paul / Dwight Howard / Andre Iguodala / Josh Smith looming Not Super Enough Team.

But the real question isn't whether Duncan and Ginobili retire, it's whether Gregg Popovich leaves with them. This team relies on its coach more than any other contender in recent memory (seriously, he's gotten something out of Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw, George Hill and any number of other basic slugs). I can't see a quality FA signing with a replacement. The Spurs' window is closing, the same as every year...

Snd_dsgnr said...

I was thinking Parker as well, though honestly I don't know that there is one guy that truly deserves it. This has been a genuine team effort

I rather liked San Antonio on the few times that I visited it, though admittedly I'm not a wealthy young black man. I hadn't even thought about Pop following Duncan out the door, but he is getting up there in years. But he still has the fire it seems to me, and they have a decent base in place. I think Leonard is a star in the making.

I know I always do this with the UNC thing, but I feel compelled to mention that Pop is a second generation member of the Dean Smith coaching tree. Was an assistant under Larry Brown, who was an assistant under Smith.

As always, thanks for your time.

DMtShooter said...

The truly special thing about the Spurs is how they've changed the team to fit the modern age -- smalls for up-tempo, penetration, corner threes -- without getting his head kicked in by his HOF star (Duncan), or even by losing to that in the playoffs.

It would have been easy for him to turn over to youth after the Thunder rolled him last year, or to bigs after Memphis poleaxed them the year before. Instead, he developed what he had (Green was freely available talent, Neal, Leonard and Splitter, low picks), scoured (Diaw) and coddled (Duncan, Ginobili, Parker) to keep everyone's minutes low enough for health and development. They also understood that basketball teams need time to gel. There isn't a member of the Spurs' rotation that wasn't part of this club last year. If you want a great team, you have to give them time to become that.

Having said all of that... still better than even money that Miami wins in 7, IMO.

snd_dsgnr said...

So apparently Joey Crawford will be reffing Game 6. Oh joy.

DMtShooter said...

Game Seven, coming up!

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