The NBA Finals got off to a start worthy of Facebook-frenzy as Spurs guard, Tony Parker, hit a wild game-sealing jumper at the end of Game 1.
The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, to no one’s surprise, played every bit the contenders that truly belong on the game’s ultimate stage. The passing was crisp, the penetrations down the lane (shouts out to Norris Cole, Ginobili, and Wade) were made with nasty intent, and the defensive close-outs from both teams were furious. In short, it was some pretty fantastic basketball, capped off by a crazy sequence that no coach could ever teach.
Down and simple, a basketball player had found himself in a position where there was nothing left to do but shoot. And the winning team had been fortunate that that player was none other than Tony Parker, he of the elite-and-clutch-playmaking-ways.
In a game where no team led by more than 9 points, the Spurs executed well in the second half to be in the position to secure a 1-0 lead.
Game 2 is on Monday, 8:30 AM, Manila time.
Before that, a few observations to fuel barroom conversations this weekend with:
1) The Ghost of Finals Past continue to haunt Lebron James
Lebron James turned in another magnificent line: 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists. If you had been tuned in to the ABS-CBN coverage, you would have heard the commentators comparing the performance to his last game as a Cavalier when his team was eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the 2010 eastern semis—a game in which Lebron posted 27 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 assists.
The numbers were there, but the fire seemed lacking. While we have no direct line to the four-time MVP’s mind, his expression during the game, especially in the second half were eerily reminiscent to his pre-champion days. In contrast to his expletive-spewing pep-talks in the Indiana series, James’ demeanor seemed too disengaged in such a big game.
Even when they still had the lead for long portions in the second half, there was something about James’ body language that said “Oh no, here come the Spurs, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” His passive gaze seemed like a hint that he had retreated into his head, replaying scenes from the devastating sweep he suffered against the same Spurs team in 2007.
We could credit a Spurs’ defense designed to make players other than Lebron beat them, sure, but we were also aching for the Lebron that only recently said he’s “50 times better” now.
Well, prove it, Lebron.
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