It’s the perfect time for Throc and myself to fire up Press Box Pillow Talk right now amidst the NBA Finals. One could not script the first two games of the series any better. Twitter has been a warzone…LeBron haters got to feast on him after his cramps got the best of him at the end of game 1, but LeBron fans won the battle after he went for 35 and 10 in a game 2 win last night. Whether you like, love or hate LeBron, you cant argue that after 2 games this looks like it is going to be another thrilling series.
Before I delve into some analysis of the first 2 games, I want to address something that i’ve seen all over twitter, facebook and every other social media site out there. It’s the comparisons between LeBron James and hockey players.
These memes along with tweets like, “LeBron would never last a period in the NHL he’s so soft.” “I would like to see LeBron step in front of a slap shot then keep playing.” These comparisons are so unbelievably ridiculous it’s infuriating. No shit LeBron isn’t as tough as most or all NHL players…he plays basketball. We’re talking about 2 completely different sports with 2 completely different cultures made up of 2 completely different types of athletes, from 2 completely different demographics. Everybody knows NHL players are some of the toughest guys out there. So comparing LeBron or any other basketball player to an NHL player is plain stupid. LeBron, Duncan, Jordan, no NBA player has or ever will have to take a slap shot to the ankle coming from Chara at the point. NHL fans jump at every opportunity to brag about how tough their players are. I can’t remember in my 21 years of existence anyone questioning the toughness of hockey players (as a group not individually, everyone knows Crosby’s a pussy). Playing through pain, finishing shifts, coming back early from injures…that stuff is all a part of the culture of hockey. Basketball does not have that kind of culture. My guess is that die hard hockey fans do this because they are bitter about the fact that the Stanley Cup Finals games are getting less than half of the viewers that the NBA Finals games are getting. We get it, LeBron can be soft and whines for calls…but compare that to Kobe, CP3, Noah, and other basketball players that are considered “tough” because comparing him to NHL players is beyond dumb.
Now…my take on the first 2 games.
Game 1: Through 3 and a half quarters game 1 was amazing. Back and forth action, teams trading buckets at both ends. It was cool to see all of the stars show up, Duncan was 90% from the field, LeBron was his usual self, Wade was getting buckets, it was just fun to watch as a basketball fan. Then the AC went out. It was easy to see both teams were fatigued, and the level of play went down. While it is true that both teams had to play in the same temperature, it is safe to say that with San Antonio’s deep bench, they were better suited to play in the conditions. I’m not saying that if the AC didn’t go out that the Heat would have won, but you can’t tell me that temperature didn’t play a big role in the game. LeBron went out with cramps and the Spurs went on a huge run to close out the game. I’m not even going to talk about the cramps, LeBron plays more minutes than any other player and does more for his team at both ends of the floor than maybe anyone in the history of the game. AC unit or no AC unit…Duncan was lights out, Danny Green couldn’t miss from 3, and Manu was balling out and that is why the Spurs won the game, cramps or no cramps.
Game 2: Also a fun game to watch, this time through to the finish. The storyline was simple, LeBron was out to prove something after his failure to be on the court at the end of game 1. After the first quarter he consistently made championship plays and carried his team. Not only did he go for 35 and 10, but he locked down Tony Parker at the end of the game. Unsung hero of the game and a guy that doesn’t get enough credit: Eric Spoelstra. I think he did a great job of managing minutes (specifically LeBron’s), and watching the Heat defensive rotations is unbelievable. Not to mention some of the sets they were running sending Ray Allen off screens as a decoy to get guys like Rashard Lewis open…incredible. LeBron gets so much credit because of the floor general that he is and sometimes Spoelstra is forgotten about. The Spurs are a great team, but if LeBron gets locked in like that and their shooters are hitting 3’s they have no chance. Don’t forget about Bosh hitting the go ahead 3 then tossing the sweet bounce to Wade for the nail in the coffin. Bosh is so underrated as a complete basketball player. He can defend, rebound, has a midrange game, post game, and can hit 3’s. Miami did what they had to do in San Antonio getting 1 of the 2, but the Spurs are a great road team so they can’t take a deep breath. In last year’s series the Spurs were close in all of the games in Miami. I hope the rest of the series is like these first 2 games.
— Steve Butabi