Spurs Turn Motivation and Teamwork to Gold

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Photo from NBA.com

Photo from NBA.com

We all saw the Miami Heat busting through the preliminary playoff rounds. In fact, the dominance the Heat exerted in the past two months was so convincing, that I called a Heat three-peat.

Signed. Sealed. Delivered. But not quite.

The San Antonio Spurs rubbed off the signature, broke open the seal and shoved the delivery off a cliff. The vets — Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili — led the team to a crushing 104-87 Game 5 victory. And leading up to that, the squad demoralized the boys from South Beach with Game 1, Game 3 and Game 4 sweeps — not even close. The closest win? 15 points. The point spread of the sole loss? 2 points.

An NBA finals series manhandling as pure as this one may never be seen again for a long while. This Spurs team showed off pure teamwork and dedication — no cliche. The locked future hall-of-famers did not come close to the MVP Finals trophy. Instead, they moved out of the way for 22-year-old young gun Kawhi Leonard — the man of few words who dropped his career-high 29 points just last week.

The craziest thing is that Leonard adding the Finals MVP hardware to his trophy case doesn’t begin to explain the Spurs team. Collectively in the five final games, the Spurs’ Patty Mills hit 13 threes to Ray Allen’s 9. Boris Diaw came up huge toward the end of the series in ways that don’t grace the stat sheet. Danny Green had his moments, as did Marco Belinelli.

Cap that off with Coach Gregg Popovich providing the game plan — “move or die” — and it fused together to form a fundamentally sound, well oiled machine. Motivated by last year’s heartbreaking loss to the Heat, rarely were smiles cracked until that last second ticked off the clock.

No matter what NBA team you root for, you have to appreciate it. The Spurs are historic.

I wasn’t alive during the Showtime Lakers era or the majority of the Michael Jordan Bulls era. To be able to see this decades-old Spurs team exude this level of confidence over the incredible span of time is something special.

Calculated and always prepared, the international team in Texas has swept the stereotypes of basketball age. Five rings in 16 years. Drop the mic.

The tank is fluttering on empty and I don’t see a gas station nearby

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At 7:16 p.m. (PT) tonight, I tweeted this:

The Heat did not just crumble tonight, they were pulverized into dust. What happened?

I could rattle off some stats, but I think the following facts can speak for themselves.

Patty Mills’ hands turned to gold as he sunk three after three, finishing with 14 points. Boris Diaw almost notched a triple double. Coach Spo gave Toney Douglas playing time. Kawhi Leonard dropped 20.

Notice that I haven’t even mentioned Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli — it’s because I don’t have to.  You could’ve sat Parker and Duncan the entire game and (basing this solely off points scored) the Spurs still would’ve walked away with a win.

I haven’t mentioned LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh either — two of those three didn’t bother showing up. And combined, their plus-minus plastered a whoppingly low -53.

That was Game 4. No team has ever come back from a 3-1 series deficit. The sort of good news for Miami is the new 2-2-1-1-1 NBA Finals format allows them to return home *if* they win Game 5 — that is a huge ‘if.’

With the way the Spurs have been shooting and whipping the ball around, who knows if anyone can beat them at this rate. The Spurs have turned basketball into an art form, while the Heat are turning it into a bloody mess.

NBA Finals Media Questions Go Wild

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My dream job is to cover the NBA for a website or newspaper or magazine, and I’m entering my senior year of college working my way there. But for now, I live vicariously through the reporters who are currently out there in the field, traveling to the NBA Finals games. I follow a good amount of them on Twitter.

Usually after games I’m reveling over their witty remarks, and reading various game write-ups. Tonight looked slightly different. I noticed an abundance of media commenting on questions that were being asked in the postgame pressers. And it wasn’t just Coach Pop being Coach Pop — I’m talking questions from way out of left field.

CJ Folger (@cjzero) tweeted out the following Youtube video of a question by this guy, Bobby Ramos. The reactions by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are pretty priceless.

Then, there was also this question by Ramos. Again.

A strange media night capped the historic game in which the Spurs completely went off on the Heat, winning 111-92. A Twitter search for “Bobby Ramos” speaks for itself.

Additionally, I’d use his question blunders as a cautionary tale for myself. Nothing dies with social media.

 

Sippin’ on Summer: White Hot Slush

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LeBron has two NBA championships, four MVP awards, his own phone app and — most recently — has created his own limited-edition Sprite flavor dubbed the Sprite 6 Mix. It’s Sprite mixed with flavors of cherry and orange, according to the press release.

This week 7-Eleven released the special flavor in Slurpee form. Today, I had the chance to try out the drink, and it’s a solid selection. It reminded me of the traditional white cherry flavor, but with a twang of Sprite mixed in.

LeBron Slurpees

As I was sipping on the slush, my NBA playoffs-obsessed mind wandered to compare the Slurpee flavor to the journey of the current Miami Heat squad. The drink is cold and refreshing — perfect for a hot summer day. Similarly, the Heat are talented and they go hard — a prime team to watch for any fan of the pure game of basketball.

At the same time, the Slurpee faintly reminded me of something I’d tasted before, just as watching the Heat succeed has, in my mind, loosely resembled the 2000-02 Lakers. For those three seasons, my eyes were glued to the purple and gold in NBA playoff games. I believed that Lakers team could’ve won eight straight. Now, the Heat are in the same position: They are on the brink of a three peat with endless possibilities ahead.

According to the Sprite press release, LeBron’s Sprite 6 Mix is only around for a limited time. Likewise, will the Heat fade away in the next couple years, or will they muster enough strength to fulfill the (now overused) prophecy of “not five, not six, not seven …”

I’ll let tonight’s dominant performance in Game 6 versus the Pacers speak for itself.

LeBron’s Broken Nose Explodes Internet

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Unfortunately,  Wordpress does not support direct embeds of Storify code. Please click the following link to see my compilation of information on LeBron’s menacing mask: