Miami Heat 2013 NBA Champions (Repeat)

The defending, and 2-time, NBA Champion Miami Heat and 4-time NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs provided an NBA Finals for the ages, filled with plenty of back-and-forth. From close games to blow-outs, the 2013 series was fun to watch, more so if the two teams, representing the Eastern and Western Conferences, were not the viewer’s favorites. If one of the two was a fave there was either, in the end, total elation or devastating heart-break.

The road to the 2013 Finals saw Miami post a league-best 66-16 record, during which time they went on an all-time NBA 2nd-best 27-0 run, and then saw them struggle against a very aggressive and much bigger Indiana Pacers squad in their Conference Final match-up taking all 7 games to win, while the Spurs (58-24) were tested in the semi-finals and then swept the Memphis Grizzlies in 4, which allowed them some much needed rest before the final games of the season.

This series saw: eclectic DWade pre-game wardrobes; Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli of old as well as an old Tim and and old Manu; a passive LeBron James and a seriously assertive game-changing LeBron; games where the Big 3 of both teams did not fare well; an NBA record-setting barrage of behind-the-arc pumps by an individual player in the Finals, Danny Green (27), as well as by a team in one game (SA-16) and in a series (SA-61); the 3rd largest beatdown in a Finals game (SA 113 – Heat 77); a lost King James headband; a one-shoed 3-pointer by Mike Miller; double-figure double-doubles; two triple-doubles by LeBron; and numerous wild and crazy blocks, steals, slam dunks, turnovers, and overall fast-paced play, without technical or flagrant fouls.

Way late in the 4th quarter of Game 6 (i.e., 30 seconds left, leading by 5) it seemed as though San Antonio had nailed it, so much so that Miami fans were leaving American Airlines Arena and there were activities occurring behind the scene to crown the Spurs as the 2013 Champions and award the trophy. However, the Heat were having none of that (which would have been a repeat of their painful 6th game, home court loss to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011) as the NBA all-time leader in 3-pointers, Ray Allen, forced an OT which saw the Heat survive and force Game 7. Perhaps Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said it best following Game 6: “They’re the best two words in sports: Game 7.”

In the end, during the final game 7 match-up, it was the Miami Heat taking advantage of unlikely, yet numerous, 4th quarter Spurs turnovers and an outstanding full-game performance by the eventual NBA Finals MVP LeBron James.  The onslaught of outside shooting by both James and Wade, strongly assisted by 6 for 8 3-point sharp-shooting by, previously-in-a-funk, Shane Battier, proved a potent offensive weapon for the Heat. For pure competitiveness, incredible passion and excellent sportsmanship this series, with games 6 and 7 in particular (either of which really could have gone either way), will go down as one of the best in NBA history and MVP LeBron summed it up neatly, “They pushed us to the limit.”

Quick recap: Game 1 Spurs 92 – Heat 88 with Tony Parker’s bank shot sealing the game with 4.2 seconds left; Game 2 Heat 103 – Spurs 84 with 5 Heat players scoring in double figures; Game 3 Spurs 113 – Heat 77 with the Spurs nailing 16 3-pointers; Game 4 Heat 109 – Spurs 93 with Miami’s Big 3 combining for 85 points; Game 5 Spurs 114 – Heat 104 with the Spurs team shooting 60% (42 of 70) from the floor; Game 6 Heat 103 – Spurs 100 in OT with Chris Bosh providing 2 very key blocks; Game 7 Heat 95 – Spurs 88 as Wade and James go a combined 23 for 34 (68%).

LeBron James 2013 NBA Finals MVP
LeBron James 2013 NBA Finals MVP (Photo: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)
All in all, a tremendously enjoyable series for fans (always much better when it goes all 7 games), resulting a disappointing loss for the runner-up San Antonio Spurs, and a great victory for the 2013 NBA Champion Miami Heat.

As a note, with their victory, the Heat join only 7 other franchises to garner at least 3 NBA Finals Champion trophies. Far and away the leaders remain the Celtics and Lakers, with 17 and 16 respectively. Following those 2 are the Bulls with 6, Spurs with 4, and, at 3 apiece, the 76ers, Heat, Pistons and Warriors.

Now it’s on to the draft and then free agency as all 29 teams place Miami in their cross-hairs in order to foil a possible Heat 3-Peat.

Until next year.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Glad Dwyane Wade Clarified Olympic Pay Statement

When it was first reported that Miami Heat All Star Dwyane Wade stated that Olympic hoopsters “should be compensated” for their time there was something that did not sit exactly right.

Ray Allen, all-time 3-point champion of the Boston Celtics and former Olympian (2000), was the first to say it, in an interview with FoxSports, a day earlier.

The basic argument, reported at the time, was that it takes a lot of time and energy away from everything else in one’s life, and that the product companies make money selling more gear. D-Wade said, “It’s a lot of things you do for the Olympics — a lot of jerseys you sell.”

The point about products is interesting, especially in light of the fact that the US Olympic hoopsters are pros and many, if not all of them, earn endorsement money, be it from specific basketball related items (like Nike shoes) or hawking burgers or insurance.

One of the reasons a company chooses to pay athletes to endorse their product or service is due to the high profile.

Jesse D. Garrabrant / 2008 NBAE

Thus, when a pro baller goes to the Olympics, regardless of his current visibility status, that profile will always go up even more, especially with a Gold Medal.  A higher profile will then mean, in many cases, more endorsements, new endorsements, other ways that money finds its way into the pockets of the pro.

And, earnings for those pros endorsing products generally far outweighs their hefty NBA salary.

Thus, it is good D-Wade sort of back-stepped. He did not outright reverse.  He just said “he” doesn’t need to get paid to participate in the 2012 Olympics.

His clarification: “BUT my love 4 the game & pride 4 USA motivates me more than any $$$ amount. I repped my country in 2004 when we won the bronze medal and stood proudly to receive our gold medal in 2008 in Beijing. It’s always been an honor for me to be a part of the USA Olympic family…and I’m looking forward to doing it again in London this summer.”

And, we do look forward to Dwyane and his teammates taking the Gold.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

NBA Lockout – David Stern, Owners, Union, Players … Listen Up, Then Play Ball

NBA Commissioner David Stern is an illusionist and a bully of sorts. The owners are all, pretty much, billionaires, with their primary fortune coming from places other than their franchise(s). Unions may or may not be good. The players, while possibly being overpaid for the sport they enjoy and perform, are trying to protect themselves and future generations of players.


What is the lockout all about?

Point blank, it is about money. Who gets what and how much.

Though no balance sheets have been examined, it is a good bet that none of the owners are in the poor house, despite what their basketball operations balance sheet and income statement may show.

Afterall, there are many business expenses deducted from income that are non cash, i.e., they do not take away any cashflow from the owner’s already deep pockets. So, are owners really losing money…are they losing cash?

Egos and greed are powerful motivators and those two characteristics show very clearly on both sides, to one degree or another.

Perhaps Stern, the owners, the union and the players should remember that it is the fan base that puts money into all of their pockets. Without fans, there simply is no money.

That comes from Sports Econ 101.

And regardless of what new Collective Bargaining Agreement is finally approved by both sides, owners can increase their revenues in many fashions, as can athletes with endorsements and other deals.

Thus, as this drama continues and as fans grow weary reading about how far apart the two sides remain, it would be wise for them, for the future of the sport and for their own pocketbooks, to examine their real motives for creating this situation. For, make no mistake, it was created.

The NBA hit an all-time high during the 2010-2011 season that will likely not be matched for quite some time once the bickering parties kiss and make up.

If Mr. Stern really wants a positive legacy he ought to remember that he is not on the court making fabulous, often incredible, plays. That job belongs to Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Ray Allen, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, and countless others.

And, regardless of how this ends, Stern will be remembered as the one who pulled the plug and cost fans the enjoyment of cheering their favorite teams and players.

The Commissioner can attempt to portray players as greedy but it was, and has always been, the owners who started paying exhorbitant salaries and bonuses, in an effort to win a title. True, a strong agent can force a player’s price up. But, an owner can always say no. End of argument.

To the owners…is this really about losing money on an accountant-creative balance sheet? Do you really think fans perceive you as broke paupers? Time to wake up.

What’s the old saying, “You made your own bed, now sleep in it.”

Over For Now.

Main Street One