So as the Spurs ride off into the sunset that is the NBA offseason and questions inevitably loom about the team's future, I sincerely hope that they have what it takes to make one last run at a championship.
Only five Game 7s have been forced in the last quarter century. Most of them have been grueling to watch, this one being no exception. But in this series there are some things we learned about the Spurs and a few things to look forward to.
Game 6 of the NBA Finals was such a seesaw battle of emotions and just sheer basketball that nobody, perhaps not even the San Antonio or Miami players, knew what Game 7 would bring us. And, after a two-point Heat lead at halftime where a series of jabs and hooks were thrown, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade offered a solution: Play like the superstars they are.
The Spurs tested the Heat, but the Heat prevailed not because they were a team destined to win or a team that was entirely "on a different level" than the Spurs. The Heat won because that are probably a little bit better and luck smiled on them.
I got such a kick out of watching so many Heat fans leave Tuesday night's Game 6 early. I got an even bigger kick out of watching them bang on the doors outside the arena after they realized their team was coming back.
Heading into Game 7, we are faced with a litany of questions -- namely centered around why Popovich subbed out Tim Duncan and Tony Parker late in Game 6; how in the world the league's most consistent team and well-run organization choked away a surefire win; and whether or not either one of these teams has anything left in the tank. Maybe, though, the question we should be asking is what will Dwyane Wade provide for the Heat, because lightning won't strike the same place twice.
With the San Antonio Spurs leading the NBA Finals 3 games to 2, the question becomes, can Spoelstra respond? Will he stay with a smaller lineup, or will he re-insert Chris Andersen for some much-needed shot blocking?
Wade is averaging the fewest minutes, points, field goal attempts and, perhaps most telling, free throw attempts of his nine playoff appearances.
The Miami Heat's Game 3 showing of the NBA Finals was so awful it could serve as a 48-minute guide of how not to play basketball. Lazy closeouts? Check. The Spurs made a Finals record 16 3-pointers. Poor effort on the glass? Check. The Spurs out-rebounded the Heat 52-36. A starting five who didn't show up? Check. Danny Green and Gary Neal combined for 51 points, yet all five Heat starters combined for 43.
With an even playing field laid out and growing expectations for both teams, it was the perfect time for two opera companies to arrange a friendly bet.
Can't wait to hear "Play Ball" five more times! Even if I am watching alone in my condo with the alarm clock set for six.
Every year when we get to the NBA Finals, if the Heat is in the mix, I get caught up in the excitement most of my friends have been feeding on since the regular season started. I find myself hashtagging #goheat and trying to have intelligent conversations about how LeBron is not the next Jordan or Magic.
Although President Pat Riley is a gifted former coach and talented executive, rooting for the Heat is like rooting for the Yankees in the days where their payroll doubled the rest of baseball and arrogance was their hallmark.
If James lets the defense define his style and refuses to impose his will, the Heat must continue to rely on perimeter shooting to win this series.
Kawhi Leonard has a huge task but it will be fun to see he can stop the best player in the world. No pressure.
There is a chance that you might be put in a situation in the next couple of weeks in which you'll have to watch one of the games of the NBA Finals -- the horror! So here's a quick guide that will hopefully improve the viewing experience for the not-so-much-sports-inclined.