Thursday, June 13, 2013

NBA Finals

I've watched quite a bit of this year's playoffs; having watched every Pacers - Heat game and up to now every Finals game. The series is now tied at 2-2, the Heat having responded to a 3 point massacre on Tuesday night with a resurgent game from Dwayne Wade. For some reason the popular narrative for the Heat is that Wade is suddenly Methuselah and on the verge of keeling over at all times. Wade is not having a great playoffs but he was still one of the most efficient players in the league by PER. As if to verify this Wade was kind enough to rattle off 31 points just to prove that the reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated.

Overall this has been a strange series to say the least; the first game was superb, very few turnovers on either side and generally smooth play throughout. Parker hit a "dagger" shot right at the end of the game that was awesome. Game 2 was also pretty solid up until the end of the third quarter when the Heat started to dominate; the game wound up having ~10 minutes of garbage time during which Lebron had a beastly block. Game 3 was a blowout for the Spurs in the second half, winning by one of the largest margins in finals history, most of the second half was garbage time here as well. San Antonio won on behalf of their 4th and 5th best players and a ridiculous 3 point shooting performance. Game 4 was back and forth until the last 6 or 7 minutes of once again garbage time though fortunately Tracy McGrady's cadaver didn't make an appearance, the new Human Victory Cigar taking over for Darko Milicic.

The Pacers Heat series went to 7 games and was sort of a back and forth of one team fucking up; in the case of the Finals it's a little better as you see ridiculously good performances from key players instead of just college level play because of Hibbert and separately Miami's suffocating defense. It's certainly more interesting to watch up until the garbage time sequences. The Spurs are incredibly poorly rated historically and if Miami didn't make it to the Finals it could have been the worst rated Finals of all time; they have a really interesting and fluid team that's held together for a decade and been successful the entire time. However they don't really do anything particularly flashy, they pass well and shoot well and lay-up well, but they don't have any absurdly good athletes to do anything ridiculous.

Contrast with Miami who is by far the most interesting team in the league and has several physical paragons and you wind up with a pretty interesting narrative. Instead of pushing the athleticism vs style argument ABC is pushing some weird false dichotomy suggesting that the original "Big Three" were Ginobili, Parker, and Duncan; but while they've been fixtures in that organization most of the onus is on Duncan with Parker playing a very strong supporting role; Ginobili is a good player but far from on par with the other two and aside from Duncan none of these players would rate super highly as Free Agents. It'll be interesting to see how this series continues, hopefully we get more game 1's and less game 2/3's and Wade is more demonstrative of his talents to disprove idiotic critics.

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