2013 NBA Finals: A Rational Game 6 Retrospect
A no-call may have ended Game 6 of the NBA Finals, but there was a slew of other actions that helped determine the outcome of the game. We can start by questioning both coaches for decisions to leave certain players in, take others out or even re-insert a certain superstar who basically destroyed a hot team’s run in the fourth quarter (we are looking at you, Dwyane Wade). Regardless, the Miami Heat barely beat the San Antonio Spurs and we are headed to only the fifth Game 7 in the NBA Finals during the David Stern era.
Why point out that it is only the fifth Game 7 during the Stern era? Well, for all the conspiracy theorists who like to say the NBA wanted this to go long and, in turn, suggests the game was fixed. In reality, they might have been secretly rooting for another game, although it is not like Stern just figured that out. How else would you explain the lack of seven game series in the Finals? So, with all of the Joey Crawford is the devil talk to the wayside, facts are facts and there is nothing to substantially suggest that Stern went out of his way to fix Game 6. I mean, I am sure you can point out a few instances where an iffy call was made, but even they are explainable. If you continue to suggest that the games are fixed, only one real question remains. Why are you even watching if you know the game is predetermined? A glutton for punishment, I guess.
If you have watched enough NBA basketball to know who Manu Ginóbili is then you also know that after a player takes his third step in a drive towards the basket, the referees tend to swallow the whistle. It is one of those fancy unwritten rules. They will allow a player an extra step while driving hard towards the basket — especially late in games — however, they aren’t going to give you (an iffy at best) call. Want to drive to the hoop using an extra step? Cool. Just don’t expect a foul call when it didn’t work out the way you hoped. Foul or no foul, Ginóbili took more steps towards the basket than a recovering booze hound takes during AA meetings — the no-call was the right call.
Then there is the curious case of people lambasting LeBron James before the game was over. As if the fourth quarter never happened, a timely three towards the end of regulation was fake and if he didn’t have the first 32-11-10 game in over 30 years. His turnover late in the game was atrocious, no doubt about it, but acting like the Heat would have been in a position to win without him or the game was won by the role players would be like saying Goodfellas was a really good movie because of Michael Imperioli and not the fact Ray Liotta did Ray Liotta like things.
We haven’t even gotten to the fact that Wade was about as bad at basketball last night as Clark Griswold is at having a normal family function. Wade was a minus 15 for the game, the Heat’s best run came in the fourth while he was on the bench and when Erik Spoelstra made the rash decision to sub him back in the game, Wade decided to go with a crazy, iso move that resulted in a fadeaway jumper from 15 feet.
Tim Duncan had an amazing first half. He also scored zero points in the fourth and overtime. I didn’t see a lot of hatred hurled in his direction. Granted, Duncan is an all-time all-timer, but if you were going to hammer James from having the kind of game that hasn’t happened in 30 years, we should point out that Duncan was non-existent in the fourth and OT.
Chris Bosh did foul the Internet’s favorite player, Danny Green, on the last shot. Ray Allen also got hit with a moving screen by Tiago Splitter to set the shot up. I would have been fine if the referees called a foul on Bosh, but I am not offended that they didn’t. San Antonio could have made some free-throws, not keep Ginóbili on the floor to turn the ball over eight times (he was a minus 21 for the game as well) or, you know, grab a defensive rebound at the end of regulation.
If you hate James, nothing he does will change your perception of him and you will credit everyone but him for the victory. If you hate the Spurs, you’ll point out Duncan’s fourth and Gregg Popovich‘s decision to bench Parker at the end, but regardless…
Me, Twitter @JosephNardone