By: Shawn Davis
What are we in for in these Finals? Tony Parker had zero turnovers; Chris Bosh had two points in the fourth quarter while Dwyane Wade contributed nothing in the final frame. LeBron James put up an 18/18/10 line and was on the losing side at the end of the night. Parker had 10 of his 21 points in the last quarter after Tim Duncan – surviving early foul trouble nonetheless – found a way to carry the Spurs attack offensively until his French counterpart could shine in the game’s critical possessions. It was such a great game to watch. I mean did any team ever hold a lead by any more than nine points? Regular season basketball no longer excites me, at all, but I just love great postseason games because of last night.
A few questions:
1. Why the hell does the offense of Miami continue to feature Bosh behind the arc? He was 0-for-4 last evening from deep waters but he keeps setting up shop there. The Spurs put up velvet ropes on that desperation heave by Bosh with under a minute left in regulation – daring him to shoot. I don’t even care if that shot went in; when did the Heat think he was Rasheed Wallace? Take your 16-20 footers, Bosh, and live with the results.
2. How big of a win is game one for the Spurs? I’m not too sure. Since the James, Bosh, and Wade era in Miami, in any series in which the Heat have trailed, they are 17-1 after falling behind. That’s scary. The Heat fall behind and then transform into something different altogether. Please consider this for those beating the drum that it’s only a matter of time for the Spurs to wrap this thing up; wait a few games. Take a deep breath.
I thought it was interesting that Erik Spoelstra opened up his bench by getting Mike Miller 20 minutes, Joel Anthony three minutes and none for Rashard Lewis. If I had a choice, I want Lewis taking that final 3-pointer over Bosh. Give me Lewis on that one, easily. The coach needs to insert him because he would draw legit defensive attention from the Spurs since he’s a career 38% shooter from the distance in contrast to Bosh’s 28%. It’s a risky shot to keep in the offense but if the Heat need it to help create spacing and driving lanes (they do), get Lewis 10-14 minutes for the rest of the series because he’s more reliable when you’re talking beyond 22 feet.
Wade played as if he had some lift in his legs – at least that was the case early in the contest – and Manu Ginobili also looked fresh. I want both teams to be as healthy as they can be because I just want great television. Danny Green – who dissolved in the Western Conference finals last year – chipped in 12 points by connecting on 4-of-9 3-point attempts and looked confident all night. Actually, three of his attempts were halfway down before rimming out. He was in a rhythm and his shot looked crisp the entire contest.
The defense Kawhi Leonard played on James was admirable but there’s a major cause for concern. What is it you may ask? There is no suitable defensive substitute when he needs to hit the bench for a breather. There are many ways this series can unfold but yesterday I thought of the trouble the Spurs are sure to be in when James decides to attack Leonard and send him to the bench (it’s going to happen). What did Stephen Jackson do to get released right before the playoffs began? They are going to need his defense and scoring.
When Leonard hit the bench there were times when Green attempted to guard James. Boris Diaw, Gary Neal and Ginobili also took turns at times when James operated primarily on the perimeter. The Spurs – namely Leonard – are going to be led to the torture chamber once James decides to work in the paint. Tracy McGrady is their only wing with the length to bother him but defense has never been anything T-Mac has invested heavily in, while James will go besides himself if this defensive strategy – or travesty for the Spurs – comes to fruition.
Rooting interest aside, I hope every remaining game is as riveting as the opener. Rooting interest in the spotlight, I hope the Spurs get three more wins in the next six games. (I know arithmetic.) Part of me wishes tonight was game two; I want seconds.