Reflections on Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals:
The Miami Heat captured their second consecutive NBA Title at the expense of the battle-tested San Antonio Spurs 95-88 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The game had so many twists and turns, exciting plays, and riveting storylines, if you were just a fan of basketball with no rooting interest, it was a sight to be seen.
This game had top performers like LeBron James who torched the Spurs with a game-high 37 points and an outstanding perimeter shooting performance. These outside shot were available for James throughout the series as the Spurs seemed set in their gameplan: Protect the paint at all costs, and if LeBron can get hot from the outside, then Miami wins the title. In Games 1-6, Miami was 3-0 when James hit three or more shots from outside the painted area. In the games where James hit less than three shots from outside the paint, Miami was 0-3. In Game 7, James knocked down nine perimeter shots, including five three-point baskets.
Other top performers included Dwyane Wade, who as a six-foot-four guard, produced big-man type numbers with 23 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Wade was very erratic throughout the 2013 NBA Playoffs, but like his superstar teammate James, he answered the bell with one of his most consistent shooting performances of the post-season, making 6-13 field-goal attempts from outside the paint, and 5-7 shooting from the inside.
In addition to having unsung heroes stepping up and contributing such as Shane Battier who was on fire from the outside, making 6-8 shots from three-point range, Game 7 also featured top non-performers of epic proportions. The once un-stoppable Danny Green, who set an NBA Finals record for making the most threes in a 7-game series (27), now couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean in Game 7. Shooting 1-12 from the field which comes out to a percentage of just .083, Danny Green’s numbers looked more like a blood alcohol level than an NBA Finals field goal percentage. Even the infamous John Starks (2-18) shot a higher percentage than Green (.111) in his horrific Game 7 Finals performance for the New York Knicks in 1994.
Other key stars also failed down the stretch for the Spurs. While Tim Duncan performed very well throughout the game and finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, The Big Fundamental channeled his inner Charles Smith as he missed two very makeable shots from point-blank range with 48 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Had Duncan made either one of those shots, the score would have been tied at 90.
Even the legendary Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich, who has an impeccable coaching resume, was asleep at the wheel with his decision not to insert Tony Parker into the game after a timeout with 27 seconds remaining and a four-point deficit to overcome. With no true point guard on the floor, Popovich elected to put the ball in the hands of the spastic and completely un-coordinated Manu Ginobili. Ginobili made a brilliant mid-air pass right to LeBron James which sealed the fate of the San Antonio Spurs.
So for all the hating that comes with the circus that is Miami Heat basketball, it was an enjoyable and memorable Game 7, and a memorable Finals series all-together. With so many different characters stepping up and playing key roles down the stretch during these past two weeks, it kept me on the edge of my seat as a pure fan of the game. Besides, as a Knicks fan, I know full well that New York wouldn’t stand a chance against either the Heat or the Spurs in a 7-game series anyway. Cheers to a great 2012-2013 NBA season!