Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spurs - Heat Game Six - A Game For The Ages

Hint: Don't Leave Ray Allen Open
The next NBA game that matters, after this series, isn't until Halloween. I'm not ready for the layoff. This is the best playoffs of my memory, and I'm not rooting for either of these Finals teams. Here's the full-scale diary from 3+ riveting hours that was more opera than game.

A 12-year-old girl comes out to sing the anthem, because Miami has no celebrities. No, wait, I've got another: because she's the oldest living continuous Heat fan. No wait, one more: because she's the only person to come to Heat games early. One more? Sure, she won a contest to name the most Heat players, and was the only person in the building get more than seven. That's probably enough, right? I'm here all week.

Chris Bosh hits to start things, and Tim Duncan responds; encouraging for both sides. Mario Chalmers misses from the arc, and so does Kawhi Leonard. Mike Miller's long three makes his presence in the starting lineup easier to take. Tony Parker burns his man and gets to the rim for a Bosh goaltend, but the world's shortest 7-footer gets it back with a tap-in. Duncan worms his way down low for an easy one, then Dwyane Wade turns it to Leonard, who rips through James at the rim for the old-school three; aggro, and a fairly weak call on the MVP. Chalmers sticks a corner three, so does Leonard off a nice look from Parker, and we're back to Great Ball. Chalmers from James, over Duncan at the tin, to tie it. Parker misses badly from 20, a poor choice, and Wade from 18, also not great. Parker to Duncan for the flush, and that was pretty. Wade runs into Ginobili and hurts himself, knee on knee; ouch. Duncan turns it and Wade looks like he's moving OK. James with a catch and make, and it's 14-all on first money.

In the early going, James looks much more involved, but so does, well, everyone. Very solid ball all over the court, and when the road team can overcome the initial burst in any sport, a tie isn't a tie.

Duncan over Bosh with Veteran Calm, but Wade hangs and stuffs over him for a big play. Parker with a miss, and Wade misses a room service look from the baseline. Leonard gets out in the open court and slams while slapping Miller in the face, and Spur Fan just got very strongly aroused. That was all kinds of awesome, really; Leonard now with 8 points.

I'm ready to revoke the idea that Chris Rock was ever funny, because he keeps making Grown Ups movies with Adam Sandler. Every year, Sandler has to punish me by making another film and running heavy rotation ads for it during the NBA playoffs. Honestly, this needs to stop. If I paid more to watch the games, could it stop? Perhaps if we all just sent Sandler a check, or chipped in for a contract killer?

Boris Diaw in early; he's the LeBron Stopper! And he gets a make with a borderline hop. James gets one back, then makes a long deuce; Duncan responds with yet another make, and he's 5-for-5 now. Leonard with a strong board, and Diaw is looking positively spry in drawing a foul, but not in airballing a 20-footer. Gary Neal's make is wiped by a Shane Battier foul draw. Duncan makes one more despite contact; maybe he's the MVP, for old time's sake? Chalmers makes another. Duncan turns it, and Battier misses so badly from three, it banks in to tie the game at 24. Chris Anderson will return to the series after money.

Early and liberal subs from both sides as we continue at a 120-point pace. Neal misses off a Manu pass; no big highlights from either of these guys so far. Ray Allen misses, and Tiago Splitter boards; Danny Green actually misses from three, Chalmers does not, and the Heat guard has been huge for them so far. Splitter gets the blocking foul on Anderson, and he just looks gun-shy on drives ever since LeBron ended him earlier in the series; it's like every Heat player wants to add him to his Block Reel. Two FT misses are predetermined, but the second rolls in. Chalmers finally misses, but even that works out, as the Heat hold for one. Allen misses an easy bank, James boards but gets blocked by Diaw, and if James isn't going to get the falling down after contact call next year, he's going to start scoring a half dozen less points per game. The first quarter ends with the Spurs shooting 61% and trailing; hard to do, but they've turned it and missed their threes. Heat 27, Spurs 25, both teams giving the A game.

Apple would like you to know their products are designed in California. Manufactured? Not so much. Taxes paid where? Even less so. I guess what I'm saying is, um, Apple can go pound sand. (And yes, I do have an iPod and love it. Cognitive dissonance comes easy.) I love Pro Hoop very much, and I do not know, or am excited by, anyone in the NBA draft. That can't be good, can it? Doris Burke has given up on asking Popovich questions, and who can blame her, really?

Ginobili turns it; surprised he hasn't left the game. He makes it worse with a bad flop, and Battier cans the wide open three. Danny Green drains one, and the groan from Miami Fan when he rises up is downright funny. Bats misses his "heat" check, and so does Manu. Wade with a great drive and make. Splitter turns it to Anderson, and he looks overwhelmed by this series. Birdman sits for Bosh, who draws a foul on the hapless Splitter. Bosh does his guard impersonation and misses; he'd be so much happier if he was 6'-6". Manu with another miss and looks like Every Game But Game Five Manu so far. Splitter with yet another foul; Duncan better be up for 40 minutes tonight. Chalmers extends the lead to six from the line. Parker meep meeps past Bosh; pretty. Wade replies with his ersatz Nowitzki one leg shot kick, and if he's making that, the Heat are winning.

So far tonight, Miami has brought the defensive pressure on the ball handlers, but when the Spurs make a pass, the looks are easy. Especially inside. It's no wonder they've shot for such a high percentage, or that Duncan has been dominant.

Neal with a tough make to cut it to three. Wade with a circus miss, then screams at Joey Crawford for what should have really been a technical, but since we're six games into a clean series, no call. Chalmers again for a 7 point lead, but Duncan calmly taps in an easy one; it's amazing how bad the Heat can be on big man defense, and still be playing for championships. To prove the point, Duncan owns Bosh again to cut it to three, and the Hall of Famer then racks up multiple fouls on Birdman because he's forgotten more about basketball than Anderson has ever learned.

The WNBA has an app! Remember this as the moment that mobile technology jumped the shark.

Duncan finally misses, but Leonard gets a great board, and Timmeh puts in another off a Parker miss. James then does the same thing, with Anderson helping to extend the possession. Duncan misses again, and James dives into Duncan for a bad foul on the Spurs. I'm fine living in a world where everyone hates James for diving, rather than personnel moves. Manu's horrible half continues on an Anderson save, but Chalmers walks. Van Gundy praises Birdman's post defense, as if Duncan hasn't been eating his lunch all night. Duncan misses one, makes another, has 19. Birdman's defense! Diaw back to body up James and gets a miss, then feeds Duncan at the rim for Anderson's third foul. Heat Fan freaks out and ignores the waltz arm around Duncan's midriff. Well, it's not like they've been watching basketball for very long. Ginobili with yet another turnover, and he's killing them. James turns it on Leonard, looking like Gerald Wallace. That was kind of amazing, really. Commerce and a 2-point Heat lead.

Radio Shack now sells dildos. With speakers inside. Coors has scientists working on beer cans, because, hey, science.

Duncan with 21 and 6 in the half; 50% of their total. Ye Gads. Ginobili with his fourth turn, and it only feels like 20; the pass keeps Green from an open three. James' jumper stays out. Parker returns and Manu sits. Duncan gets the roll to tie it up. Bosh misses as it looks like James does not want to shoot. Diaw to Duncan for the flush, great pass and wow. Bosh misses as James continues to pass, rather than go at Diaw, and then the fat man drives and scoops for the tear drop. Good Lord. James misses from the arc, Parker runs clock and feeds Diaw, who misses from the arc, but Leonard tips it in.

A 17-4 Spurs run to end the half, they are up by 6, and the Heat crowd sounds funereal. America Has Had Worse Times. Off to put the daughters to bed.

I make it back in time to see Parker make two and give the Spurs a 5 point lead. Wade turns it against Green and pules. Parker nearly makes a dervish drive, but it stays out, and Wade hits from mid-range. Leonard tries too hard and misses a drive. Miller gets to the rim -- odd things are afoot! -- and makes it a 1-point game. Perhaps if James isn't going to drive any more, Miller will?

Diaw's magic runs out, but Duncan boards over Miller, and the Heat swingman gets his fourth foul. Diaw is lucky to avoid a turn, and chaos ends with a Parker floater and Wade foul; big, big play to escape defensive pressure. James misses what seems to be an easy drive, and Anderson gets his fourth foul in eight minutes. James has 12/5/7 so far, and such is his level, it seems really bad. Erik Spoelstra calls time, and this is the Spurs team that ended the Lakers, Warriors and Grizzlies, all on the road. Really long way to go, of course, but Miami is only in reach due to guys like Chalmers and Miller.

Leonard steals on James, muscles his way to the hoop and scores in transition, as Allen goes down hard; great play by the Spurs' young buck, and that's Wade's fourth foul. So much for Joey Crawford guaranteeing a Game 7. James misses the deep 3, Parker is a racehorse that doesn't get the roll, but Duncan gets the old-school tip and 3, and wow, he's been flat out awesome. 12 point Spurs lead, 11-0 run, and there's all kinds of doubt in Heat Fan right now. And perhaps an all-time high in Duncan's popularity. Just hope he's got enough legs to finish this. 30/12 in 26 minutes; insane.

Wade gets the roll on a lane make. Battier gets his third foul wrestling with Diaw, and the Frenchman hits one. 11 point lead, 16 minutes left. Wade misses, the only guy on Miami who seems eager to shoot, Leonard with the board. Parker blows by Allen and gets a bailout call. Two more makes push the lead to 13; San Antonio will not give up points here. Wade misses, no one in Miami moving without the ball. It's a clinic in how to defend them right now. Wade blocks Neal, ball movement gets it to Battier for a big three. Parker right by Bosh for an open look, but it stays out. Wade feeling it on Diaw, shakes, bakes, makes. It's Hero Ball, but it's working for now. Neal misses a three, the Heat tip it around and get lucky, and James falls down on offense as Heat Fan loses his fudge. James now on Duncan, gives to Wade, misses, and the Heat are screaming at the refs on every miss. Neal makes a runner, pushes it to 12, and the home team is not showing composure. James on Diaw, passive on the double. Allen hits Parker for an offensive turn as Heat Fan get organized in their Ref Hate. This is what flopping reaps, Heat Fan. Parker with a miss, James walking it up for some reason. Um, LeBron? You're behind. James trains into Spltter, gets a call, and Heat Fan erupts for the whistle. Loser play, lower crowd. James now 3 for 12 from the field, and it's really not the ref's fault. Shock troops in for the last 10.3 seconds; James makes both. Parker forcing it on Bosh, can't get it to fall. At the end of three, it's Spurs 75, Heat 65, and a clinic on many levels... but you get the feeling that if the Heat can get past this game, there's no way the Spurs can bounce back after three nearly perfect quarters.

Spoelstra answers a single question, because no one wants to deal with Doris Burke after two weeks of this. James feeds Chalmers for the easy baseline three; big possession. Too much Diaw for a miss; no ball movement for the Spurs. Crowd fully into it, and James gets to the rim easily and makes. Splitter stops the bleeding on a nice make; Duncan getting up. Miller hits a three with only one shoe; wow. I think that actually helped him, in that Neal seemed like he was anticipating a timeout. Big start to the quarter for the Heat, and no rest for the starting Spurs. I love Popovich, but he might have bought himself a close game by going to the shock troops here, rather than the kill. Credit also to the Heat, who have hit the threes they needed to get back into this; if Chalmers or Miller miss, the run doesn't happen.

Popovich stays stubborn with the subs; Splitter gets a bank to go, but James slams it home and it still feels like a run. Manu bailed out on a drive, and Duncan comes in for Splitter, who can't get out of this game fast enough. Manu misses one, now has four points. Retirement's still an option, Manu. James looking dangerous with the ball. He collects a heave from Chalmers for a slam, but Leonard saves a turn with a make; Spurs still holding water but the legs are wobbly. James blocked by Duncan at the rim, no call, but Green can't make at the other end. Manu elbows James hard, and that's an uncalled flagrant foul; first moment of dangerous elbows and chippiness in the series. James owns Leonard, finally, to cut it to three. Manu nearly turns it to Duncan, who is tied up by Miller for a jump. I can't put into words how badly Ginobili looks tonight.  Duncan wins the tip and the Spurs miss twice, Leonard and then Green. James to Anderson down low, and Duncan is called for Manu's foul. In five minutes, the Spurs lead has gone from 10 to 2; Duncan's 15th (!) board.

James blocks Duncan at the rim off a great Green pass, and that might be a game changer; he gets it back on the other end and ties it. Amazing play by the MVP. Green's three stays out. Allen with a baseline make, Miami leads, and this has the feel of Sixth Gear for Miami all of a sudden. We'll see if the Spurs have an answer after the money.

Duncan on Bosh, turnover, and the momentum of the game has changed to the point where the Spurs aren't getting bailout calls. James somehow winds up on Parker, drives immediately and falls down one more time on Ginobili's help defense, and the cumulative flopping has worn the refs down. More money.

If Popovich's faith in Ginobili was borne out in Game Five, it's cost him tons in Game Six. If it's my team, I have Diaw or Neal on the floor here, because at least they've done something tonight. James misses a free throw; it's a 3 point Heat lead. Diaw in, feeds Leonard, who makes on a run. James finally drives on Diaw, and makes easily, as Heat Fan wonders why that hasn't happened all night. Ginobili with Yet Another Turnover. James settles for jumper over Diaw and misses. Chalmers with a blocking foul on Manu, and Wade returns with full rest, probably too much. Parker misses, not really himself with the mid-range tonight. James called for his third on a shove on Parker, and the Spurs got away with one there on many levels. Duncan takes too long on Bosh and doesn't get the roll. It's not surprising, but still sad, that he hasn't been able to finish his throwback game at the same level. Spurs with just 9 points in the fourth, and I'm not sure where they go for more, with Parker 4 for 16, Duncan looking spent, Manu a week from retirement...

Wade with a bad miss over Green. Manu with a drive and suddenly the lane opens on Duncan contact as Bosh self-slams himself on the pick. Wade fouled by Green, and he's fortunate to make both. Manu's hero three clangs, but Wade's showtime tip attempt to James is a de facto turn, and Green calls timeout while trapped. I suppose that's a defensible risk by Wade, since the transition game is an auto make for James, but I'd still rather have the ball and run clock. Parker at the end of a terrible possession drains a three; wow. Tie game. Parker steals it from Chalmers, then does his Matrix stop and auto-correct lane make, and holy crap, is Tony Parker a beast. With the championship on the line, having a terrible game by his standards, he just made three huge plays in 20 seconds to turn a 3-point hole into a 2-point lead. Spurs are one good minute away from a trophy, all thanks to their point guard.

James nearly turns it on carelessness. Hero Ball possession, terrible basketball, ends in a turnover. If you are a LeBron James hater, that was porn. Spurs drive, Manu gets to the line and makes two. 4 point game, 37.2 left. James again, airball, Manu gets the ball and goes to the line. James jawing at someone for something; Manu misses a FT, and that's adding drama. Second one is good. 5 point game, 28.2 left, last Heat timeout, 8-0 run in a minute, and James' failures on the last two drives can not be oversold. Just huge on this stage.

Heat still have outs, but a miss will end them. James with 4 shooters. Diaw in for Duncan, and I kind of hate that. James' first three is a horrible miss, but without Duncan on the floor, Miami gets the board out of a scramble, and the MVP hits a three off a clean look. Suckout luck for James there; 2 point Spurs lead with 20.1 left. ESPN trying to whitewash James, as if he didn't nearly end his team in the last minute. Duncan back in to inbound; he does a great job to find Leonard off tough pressure. The young buck is fouled immediately. Must have makes, and the first stays out; tough spot to be 21. He looks beaten for the second, but makes it. Duncan out again. James misses, but Bosh boards, feeds Allen on the baseline, and despite the lack of timeout, the refs call time to review the clearly made three. Popovich is justly furious, but his move to remove Duncan twice in the end game cost his team dearly. 5.2 seconds left for the Spurs; what a game. Parker can't make on a haphazard end to end run that ends in a baseline miss, and the Spurs failing to get a board, twice, late... well, it could cost them a championship.

What. A. Game.

Allen miss, Leonard board. Parker to Leonard for the early make and lead. James misses, Manu board and near turn. Parker misses. Bosh leaks out and gets the old-school three attempt as Manu can't defend. Another terrible play by the Argentine; Manu to bench, finally. Bosh misses to keep it tied. Duncan miss, Diaw board, Leonard make, it's as if the Heat have no bigs. (Um, the Heat have no bigs.) Leonard gets his third in near turnover chaos by Allen. Wade and James turn in, and Parker gets to the line on an Allen foul; not a flagrant. Bosh rolled on Duncan behind the play, and that could matter a lot. Parker with a miss, third for the Spurs in the last few minutes, all of which mattered. Allen scores off a James feed, runner in the lane. Parker's bad three at the end of the clock shows fatigue. Wade to James for a make. Spurs want to push, but look gassed. Shot clock violation on a Parker heave as the Heat look like they've finally worn the Spurs down. 78 seconds from Game 7, Miami with a 1-point lead.

Parker on the bench, offense for defense. James misses on Manu, Leonard with the board, Spurs with a huge stop there. Manu turn, just awful, James steals it, but Green saves the game as the MVP cries to the refs yet again. Amazing defensive play and luck for the Spurs, though it looks on the replay like both men fouled.

Reset for the huge possession. Bosh blocks Parker (!), and Miami gets the loose ball and instant Spurs foul. Parker out again. Spurs playing defense rather than fouling, of course. Wade with the terrible fall away jumper miss, Spurs push, and Allen fouls Ginobili for no call. Inexcusable. Allen ends up with the ball, gets to the line, makes both. 3 point Heat lead with 1.9 left. Splitter in, and Duncan; guess the Spurs are running the picket fence. The inbounds goes all the way to Green in the corner, and Bosh eats his jumper alive to end it. Ball game; the series will go seven. That's a foul every minute of the game except the last seconds, and had the teams been reversed, I'm pretty sure the Heat would still be crying about the no-call. Your final is Heat 103, Spurs 100.

Game Seven is Thursday... and it's hard to see how the Spurs can recover, but I might have thought that about the overtime, and they had their chances there, too. Part of me is sad that the Heat escaped and won a game they had no right to win. Another part is thrilled that I get one more game to tide me over for the summer. But it's hard to see how this one can be anywhere near as good as tonight, so I hope I'm wrong yet again. See you then.

2 comments:

CMJDad said...

"and Allen fouls Ginobili for no call. Inexcusable" What was inexcusable was Ginobili's elbow to Jame's throat that wasn't called. Wasn't fond of the officiating last night, until late 4th/OT, when the refs decided to put the whistles away and let them play.

DMtShooter said...

Ginobili's elbow was called for a foul, just not a flagrant.

I'm not a fan of Joey Crawford as a rule. His crew is always good for several Lookit Me moments in crunch time, and the blown timeout with 5 seconds left in regulation after the Allen make was one of those. And if you "let them play" long enough, the flow goes to hell and we get Thug Ball. But his crew didn't decide the game last night. The Spurs didn't seal the deal at the line or get the single board they needed.

Part of the reason this has been such an amazing series is no flagrants or techs, though Wade and James would have both been T'd up if they weren't stars in the third quarter, when the Heat were unraveling. My guess is that changes in Game 7, though I hope I'm wrong.

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