The 2013 NBA Finals are history. The Miami Heat beat the San Antonio Spurs in a back-and-forth, 7-game series. For the second straight year, LeBron took home MVP honors.
The end of the Finals also means an end to the 4th annual Big Shot Bob (Rob) Tournament. How did everyone do?
Just as LeBron and the Heat wound up repeat champions, Dan “Big Purple” Leifer also took home his second consecutive victory this year. Expect a followup post with a link to his kickass prize.
NBA Finals Recap
Heat-Spurs: Perhaps this year’s finals matchup didn’t have the same cache as a Heat-Thunder rematch would have–after all, the Spurs are “boring“–but there were plenty of story lines to keep the world interested. Some of them included:
- A battle of “Big 3’s” (even if it’s a little forced for the 2012-13 Spurs)
- How would LeBron fare in his second series against Coach Pop and the Spurs?
- Likewise, how would this series impact LeBron’s “legacy”–would he be 1-3 in NBA Finals series or 2-2? What would it mean for the Big 3 to be 1-2 in three finals trips?
- Could Duncan match Kobe’s five rings and settle the debate of best “Post-Jordan Pre-James” player? (Because rings are everything!)
The series started out with an ugly but exciting first game. The Heat were coming off a brutal seven-game series against Indiana; the Spurs were in the opposite position, having rested for weeks following a sweep of the Grizzlies. Maybe it was the rest, maybe it was luck, but for whatever reason the ball bounced San Antonio’s way in Game 1 in their 92-82 win, particularly on Tony Parker’s game-sealing bank-shot.
The Heat roared back in Game 2 winning 104-83, a more or less must-win as they’d stand little chance going to San Antonio down 0-2 with three games on the road. The game was close through three quarters, and LeBron was struggling again, missing 10 of his first 13 shots as his team trailed late in third quarter. The Heat turned things around by forcing turnovers, hitting threes, protecting the ball, and protecting the rim. Confounding still was the average play of Miami’s Big Three, who each struggled in Game 1 (LeBron did have a triple-double Game 1, but he struggled scoring). The Spurs Big 3 was even worse, combining to shoot 10-33 from the field.
Home again for Game 3, the Spurs got their revenge in the most lopsided game of the series, winning 113-77. The game might well be remembered as the “Gary Neal and Danny Green game”, who combined for 13-19 from beyond the arcw (as a team, the Spurs hit 16, an NBA Finals record). Neal’s contributions were particularly timely, given that Parker was playing less and nursing a sore hamstring. For the third consecutive game, none of Miami’s Big Three played particularly well–LeBron struggled in particular, starting 2-13 and finishing 7-21 from the field.
Fighting to stay afloat and not go down 3-1, Miami played arguably their best game of the series in Game 4, winning 109-93 behind a fourth quarter run to put the game out of reach. Each of Miami’s Big 3 played well. To quote ESPN.com: “James had 33 points and 11 rebounds after failing to break 20 points in any of the first three games of the series, and Wade scored 32 points, 11 more than his previous high this postseason. Bosh matched his playoff high with 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds…” As they did in Game 2, the Heat forced turnovers, which proved to be the difference in the game.
Game 5 marked the Spurs’ final game at home this season, and going back to Miami down 3-2 was not an option. So, as the Spurs are known to do, they got buckets on buckets, winning 114-104. Manu made a surprise appearance in the starting lineup, catalyzing an offensive assault which saw the Spurs shoot 70.0 TS% on the game. Danny Green’s 6-10 performance from behind the arc pushed him to 25-38 3PT on the series, which is not only a ridiculously high percentage, but also a record number of made threes in the finals (Ray Allen held the previous record at 22 made threes). The series would return to Miami with the Spurs holding a 3-2 advantage.
What ensued in Game 6 was nothing short of basketball magic. The game will be remembered for generations as one of the all-time great NBA Finals games, and reading a real recap or watching the mini-movie above might be the best course of action for any fan.
Game 7 won’t be as well-remembered as Game 6, even if it was a fantastic game in its own right. Wade had a resurgent performance (23 points, 10 reb), hitting clutch jumper after jumper. Bosh failed to score a single point in Game 7, but it was made up for by Battier’s surprising 6-8 performance from behind the arc. And LeBron not only had his best game of the series, but his best game of the 2013 playoffs. Despite a difficult beginning to the series, he bolstered his clutch reputation. He increased his already all-time high scoring averages in elimination games and Game 7’s, and most importantly, he added another ring to his collection.
The Spurs didn’t lack effort, but between Manu’s apparent age (12 turnovers in the final two games), Danny Green’s fading magic (2-19 FG in the final two games), and Duncan’s missed layups, the Spurs didn’t have enough tricks left in the bag. Not after James’ jumper with 28 seconds to give the Heat a four-point lead all but decided the series (he called it his “MJ moment“).
The world was treated to a seven-game series of compelling narrative and basketball perfection. It reminded fans, players, and analysts everywhere why sports are so damn fun to be a part of (…unless you’re a Spurs fan).
Hero: LeBron James. Goat: Manu Ginobili. Best Bosxcore: LeBron’s finals-clinching 37 points (12-23 FG, 5-10 3PT, 8-8 FT), 12 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. His game-score (a simplified version of PER spat out as a single-game metric) was 32.5, his highest of the playoffs.
That about does it for the 2012-13 season. AGR will be chiming in on the 2013 Free Agency craze and June’s NBA Draft. Enjoy summer and its gift of summer-league!
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