Official NBA Finals Thread: SanAntonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat

Discussion in 'Nuttin' but Net' started by gatordavisl, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. GCNumber7
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    GCNumber7 Well-Known Member

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    While I don't disagree with you, don't discount the effect that MJ had on his teammates. Particularly later in his career when Pippen and Rodman where past their prime. His intensity and unshakable confidence rubbed off on his team. His last couple of teams where not very different than these Miami teams. A couple of aging stars along with some good not great role players.

    I actually pulled for Utah the last couple of finals because I wanted to see Stockton get a ring. Utah was a better team too, but you just knew they couldn't get past Jordan.
  2. diamondted13
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    diamondted13 Active Member

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    Look, I'm not going to take anything away from Jordan (my childhood idol), because you could definitely argue that in 98 Utah and Indiana were better overall teams than Chicago, and that Jordan helped "will" them to the title. There's a reason he is the greatest player of all-time.

    However, that 98 Bulls team was a much, much, much better than this year's Heat team. Not even close.
    Jordan was still the best player, Pippen was still great (All-NBA third team), and Rodman still led the league in rebounding (15pg). They had a versatile 3rd scoring option (Kukoc), and their starting C (Longley) averaged double figures. So not only were Pippen and Rodman significantly more impactful than Wade and Bosh (Wade was actually a liability in the finals), but the Bulls were deeper beyond their big 3 (Kukoc, Longley, Harper, Kerr) than this year's Heat (Chalmers, Allen, Birdman, Cole). For God's sake, their starting C in the Finals (Lewis) barely played during the season. Jordan could not have stopped the Spurs avalanche. Sorry. And yes, these Spurs were better than those Pacer and Jazz teams.
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  3. regurgigator
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    regurgigator VIP Member

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    I was also pulling for those Utah teams and in Jordan's last championship season, there were 2 games in the Finals in which Jordan was cold in the first half (not a criticism, he was also human) and Utah would have had a big halftime lead if not for Pippen being very hot in the first half of one game and Kucoc in the other. The way they played, Utah was not likely to have given up big halftime leads if they had gotten them. I was pulling my hair out thinking that even when Jordan was cold, some other Bull was stepping forward to make plays.
  4. GCNumber7
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    GCNumber7 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe you missed the part where I said I don't disagree? Swap Jordan for Lebron and the Heat still lose. The Spurs are just much better top to bottom, particularly with the emergence of Leonard. But I have little doubt it would have been more competitive. No way Jordan allows his team to get blown out 3 straight times, twice at home. That to me is the biggest difference between the two. Jordan is ULTRA competitive, sometimes to his detriment (see his well documented gambling problems). Lebron has had some of his most dominant performances when he played angry, but he can't play that way every game. He also doesn't strike me as the type that will rally his team. Wade has always been the heart and soul of the Heat. That's not a knock on Lebron, he is an amazing player. It's just not his personality, which actually makes him a much better person off the court than Jordan.
  5. corpgator
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    corpgator Well-Known Member

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    Agree that replacing Lebron with Jordan wouldn't have changed the outcome, but that '98 Bulls squad was not that great once they reached the finals especially in the last couple games. Rodman averaged less than 10 boards in the series and was just plain bad the last 2 games because he was old and injured. Pippen gave them about what Wade did this year, also nursing a back injury. Kukoc outplayed Bosh, though.

    This box score from the last game of the finals says a lot. All of the scoring was on Jordan.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/199806140UTA.html

    The same was true of the '93 Bulls squad. Lots of players nursing injuries, so Jordan just went out and put up the greatest numbers ever in any single playoff series against Phoenix, 43/8/7 with 3 steals per game.
  6. corpgator
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    corpgator Well-Known Member

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    Lebron willed them to victory last year, though. Once that headband came off, he went nuts. SA made sure not to knock it off this year.
  7. GCNumber7
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    GCNumber7 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah that was my recollection as well. Pippen was hurt a lot, and Rodman while a great rebounder and defender was a liability on offense. Longley was just a role player. Kukoc was a nice player though.
  8. regurgigator
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    regurgigator VIP Member

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    As a Heat/LeBron fan, I differ from gators81 in that I agree that the Heat were fortunate (I'd say even a bit lucky) to have won the series last season. That was 2 well matched teams and the 2013 Finals could have gone either way IMO. As Donovan says about the NCAA Tourney, if they had started the 2013 Finals all over, you could have gotten a different outcome. I don't think that was the case this year - despite Game 1's "A/C-Gate".

    But, I don't agree that the best team necessarily wins the NBA championship every year when you have 2 fairly evenly matched teams playing. I think the 7-game playoff tests just ensures that you don't have any "imposters" or undeserving teams ever win the championship (which is good). (And, I still think the Spurs were gifted one championship by Stern when he suspended all those players for the Suns' home Game 6 that one year when Steve Nash got shoved out of bounds late in Game 5.)

    That said, I don't think any of that matters in the How Good Is LeBron? debate. I think it's a complete FARCE to evaluate players based on team accomplishments anyway.

    I heard Reggie Miller on ESPN radio yesterday saying that there can be no more talk of LeBron being on the "Mt Rushmore" of NBA basketball, because "he" (not the Miami Heat mind you) didn't win the NBA championship this season. (BTW, Miller's Mt Rushmore is Jabbar, Jordan, Bird & Magic - not bad). Then, in the very next sentence, Miller said that the Miami Heat actually became the Miami Cavaliers this season - meaning LeBron had very little help in winning the championship. :confused:

    Miller is dancing so very close to ENLIGHTENMENT and he doesn't even know it!!! One player cannot win a championship by himself (in a team sport of course). It takes the best team to win a championship, sometimes down to seldom-used role players off the bench - and even coaching is a significant factor IMO.

    I don't really compare LeBron to Jordan, because (1) they are different kinds of players (LeBron is more like a Magic or Bird) and (2) I never considered Jordan to be the GOAT anyway. Not counting LeBron, I consider Wilt to be the GOAT followed in order by Bird, Magic (although he's pretty interchangeable with Bird IMO), then Jordan and probably Jabbar next.

    But, since his second year in the NBA, I've considered LeBron to be the best player I've ever seen. Nothing that he's done since then has made me doubt it. Even if he had never played on a championship team, it would have made little difference to my evaluation. Or, if he ends up playing on 10 championship teams, I won't see that as any kind of proof of his individual ability. While he may still find ways to improve his game, any future championships for LeBron will just be an indication that he is on the best (or one of the best) team in the NBA again - just as it has meant for every other championship in the past.

    I think a lot of analysts agree that LeBron is the best when they're thinking rationally, because they'll often describe him as such, but then they'll suddenly back off that position when the conversation moves to championships (which, again, are only won by teams - not individuals). I reject the whole super-hero notion that one player can "will" his team to a victory, much less a championship - although I agree that some players (pretty much all the greats) show great will, including LeBron who has helped get his teams (Cavs & Heat) to some amazing playoff victories with some incredible exploits over the years. But, no, LeBron has never won a single game, much less a championship, by himself. And, neither has anyone else in the history of professional team sports.

    Of course, I also consider Dan Marino to be the best QB I've ever seen - well, at least until Aaron Rodgers came along who has 1 Super Bowl ring so far (but, I won't hold that against Rodgers when comparing him to Marino :cool:)

    This year's playoffs were disappointing to me (although the Spurs were still fun to watch) in that LeBron was reduced (as I see it) into trying to be more of a scorer since even when he made plays to set up teammates, many of the Heat players were cold as ice. Yes, it can be entertaining to watch LeBron score a bunch of points. But, the real beauty of his game is when he's making the correct basketball plays and his teammates are able to take advantage of the setups he provides. Hopefully, Miami can re-tool and surround him with some guys who can finish/score (and play better defense) next season.
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  9. gators81
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    Just to clarify, I 100% agree that the Heat were fortunate in game 6, where my issue comes from is saying Miami didn't earn it. You can get some breaks in your favor and you still have to earn the win. The word fortunate came into the discussion about 3 posts in. Had we started with fortune as opposes to "didn't earn" there would have been no debate.
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  10. diamondted13
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    diamondted13 Active Member

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    What I took issue with was your claim that the Bulls and Heat teams were similar. Corpgator is right that the Bulls were breaking down before our eyes in those playoffs. They were spent in squeaking by the Pacers in 7 (that Pacers team was better than Utah), and were there for the Jazz's taking. Still, Jordan had more help. To say Rodman averaged less than 10 boards in the series is a far cry from a Heat team that was last in the league in rebounding.

    I do agree that Jordan doesn't let the Heat get blown out 3 straight games, mainly because his teammates were scared of him. LeBron's teammates don't fear him. They feed off his positivity. Their overall body language was bad once game 4 started getting away from them. LeBron was very visibly frustrated with his teammates who were giving him nothing. Jordan probably "wills" the Heat to make runs in games 4 & 5 (like the Heat did in gm 3 cutting it to 7), and maybe the losing margin is closer to 10 than 20. Let's face it, LeBron is never going to punch a teammate in the face. Agree with you on their personal differences. I loved Jordan, but he was an a**hole.
  11. gtr2x
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    gtr2x Well-Known Member

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    Your example is not much different than a Heat fan saying the Spurs were lucky that Lebron cramped up in game 2, allowing the Spurs to come from behind and change the momentum of the series. That is, unless you think the Spurs somehow caused the cramps. Guess every team that ever won, had some luck. Either way, whats the point, just comes across as a cheap shot and an attempt to degrade a championship.
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  12. antny
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    antny Well-Known Member

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    People seem to forget how much Jordan imposed his will on every game. If Jordan's shot wasn't falling he would adapt and drive to the hoop for a layup or get fouled. He would scratch and claw through free throws or by drawing attention and getting his teammates involved if his game was off. He did it with defense too. There was rarely a game where he didn't at some point at least make it interesting. It really was him and everyone else. Not because there weren't better pure shooters or ball handlers or defenders but because NO ONE did it all as well and as consistently as he did.

    Barkley once said no one will win a title until Jordan retired. Do you know what it takes for an ego of an nba all star to admit that?

    Other teammates have corroborated stories of how incessant his drive was.
  13. diamondted13
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    diamondted13 Active Member

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    Nobody is forgetting these things who saw him play. That's why so many hate LeBron, because they are offended at the mere mention of LeBron and Jordan in the same breath. I just wish the Kobe hate was just as strong a couple years ago, when comparisons between him and Jordan were made that were truly insulting to MJ's legacy.
  14. Swamp_of_Gators
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    Swamp_of_Gators Well-Known Member

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    Because Miami fans want to say they weren't lucky, but indeed they needed quite a bit of luck. Also, the Spurs won by 15 points in game one of this years series. Miami won game 6 last year by single digits in overtime, and all the games this series went in the spurs favor by about an average of 15 points again (counting the loss) Kind of apples and oranges.

    Honestly, I don't really care though. I'm not trying to degrade their championship. Miami fans say "we get no credit, people degrade our championship and say we were lucky!"

    Well, you WERE lucky. People were talking about it before this series as a build up. Pointing out that the Spurs choked away game 6, and could of easily won it then and there, and thus are a worthy opponent. All these are true points. And you know what? So what? Who cares? Why get worked up about it? I just don't understand how I'm wrong here. How can you say Miami wasn't fortunate? How can you say the Spurs didn't choke game 6 away? Miami fans were already walking out of the building, even they had given up. Props to Miami for taking advantage of the situation. For that they earned the championship. But the Spurs definitely choked it away.
  15. Swamp_of_Gators
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    Swamp_of_Gators Well-Known Member

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    Again, I'm not saying the Spurs were the better team last year, only stating that yes, THEY CHOKED THE SERIES AWAY in game 6.
  16. regurgigator
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    regurgigator VIP Member

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    So, would it be fair to ask why Jordan's super-hero will that could not be denied (even as one man in a team sport) only manifested itself in championships after Phil Jackson started coaching the team? I often wonder whether the Jordan worshipers think Phil Jackson made any difference at all. Or, do they think the Bulls would have won the same 6 championships if Doug Collins had remained the coach?

    Although I believe players are more important than coaches, I think Jackson made a difference. But, my God! - what would admitting that do to Jordan's legend of winning championships single-handedly?!?! :eek:


    Note: The above sarcasm is not meant to disparage Jordan who was an absolutely awesome player. I really have no argument with people who think he's the GOAT. Just as I'd have no big argument with anyone who thought the GOAT was Magic or Jabbar or Bird or Wilt or Russell or.... (although I have a huge argument with anyone who thinks Kobe is in the conversation or is comparable to Jordan). And, as someone mentioned, it seems to be LeBron is the only legit GOAT contender who gets the Jordan worshipers riled up. They don't seem to descend en masse to complain if someone calls Jabbar or Magic, etc. the GOAT - only LeBron raises their hackles. Hmmm.....
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  17. GCNumber7
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    GCNumber7 Well-Known Member

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    Are there really people who think Kobe is the GOAT? :)

    I think the reason most of the debate is around Jordan and Lebron is because a lot of us have actually seen both of them play. I know I never watched Jabbar, Wilt, Russell, etc. Nor Bird or Magic in their prime. So can't really form an opinion on their 'greatness'.
  18. antny
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    antny Well-Known Member

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    It would be fair if i ever said jordan was as great as he was straight out of college but i never said that. Even 30 for 30 on the Detroit bad boys highlighted Jordan's physical and mental maturation achieved through the adversity of repeated failure. I think Jordan would have won several titles without Jackson but that is just speculation. I don't know how Phil and his methods affected a once fragile Pippen who obviously was an integral part of their championship teams. That brings up another point where Lebron loses respect(i for one am not a hater of Lebron).

    It's a different world now with free agency in all sports. I loved watching the formation of the Jordan Era Bulls for the same reason I loved watching our Gators in 06/07 as well as this year. I watched the same guys tough it out and grow together as a team, not cherry pick in order to stack the deck and win a title. One could definitely say they did that for their second run by picking up Rodman and it would be hard to argue but for the most part the same players (led by Jordan) developed into what they were.

    10B.J. ArmstrongPG6-2175September 9, 1967RUniversity of Iowa
    24Bill CartwrightC7-1245July 30, 19579University of San Francisco
    22Charles DavisSF6-7215October 5, 19587Vanderbilt University
    54Horace GrantPF6-10215July 4, 19652Clemson University
    15Jack HaleyPF6-10240January 27, 19641University of California, Los Angeles
    14Craig HodgesSG6-2190June 27, 19607California State University, Long Beach
    23Michael JordanSG6-6195February 17, 19635University of North Carolina
    34Stacey KingPF6-11230January 29, 1967RUniversity of Oklahoma
    11Clifford LettPG6-3170December 23, 1965RUniversity of Florida
    45Ed NealyPF6-7238February 19, 19606Kansas State University
    5John PaxsonPG6-2185September 29, 19606University of Notre Dame
    32Will PerdueC7-0240August 29, 19651Vanderbilt University
    33Scottie PippenSF6-8210September 25, 19652University of Central Arkansas


    That was the 89-90 roster for Chicago. with the exceptions of a few changes here and there that same team Developed into a dynasty. The lineup for the second three was dramatically different in names but not makeup. Kerr replaced paxson. Rodman replaced Grant which was the only obvious upgrade. Toni kukoc came in and while he was an uprgrade on offense he was a defensive liability. The point is Jordan did it with one team. Suffered growth and hardships with one team. There was an article in sports illustrated once that questioned if Jordan would ever win a title with his supporting cast. Today he would have either left or recruited another superstar. I think people are just fonder of all the intangibles as well as the on court performances of Jordan. I think those same supporters resent the accolades heaped on Lebron due to the path he chose and the results so far. If youre going to make "the decision" and then boast about how the big three is going to win 8 titles you better back it up. I wish Lebron didn't do either of those things because by all accounts he actually seems to be a more likeable and better person than Jordan off the court.
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  19. antny
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    antny Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't call it hate but my disagreement was just as intense. Kobe was a better pure scorer but not as clutch and not as well rounded. Out of sight out of mind and people were sniffing his jock too much as well. I think the backlash wasn't as fervent because of the "decision" and then the prediction. Kobe certainly isnt as likeable off the court as lebron is.

    My only real dislike of Lebron FTR is the acting jobs. I don't mind selling out a little WHEN CONTACT IS MADE but the completely fabricated contact and stoppage of play to me is disgraceful. I know others do it and i hate it then too but when wade and james fake injury when no contact is made it is a diservice to themselves. they think its cute, i think its embarrassing.
  20. diamondted13
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    diamondted13 Active Member

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    For the record, Kobe was not better than Jordan at ANYTHING...statistically, or otherwise. Cherry pickers will point out that Kobe has a slightly higher 3pt% (.335% to .327% career), although that includes Jordan's last 2 sub-par years w/ Wizards. I suspect that Kobe's will be lower by the time he retires. Just look at their career #'s to illustrate it's not even close. Career playoff #'s are even more lopsided in Jordan's favor. Those comparisons have always been an absolute joke.

    As for the "decision" and subsequent prediction of "not 5, not 6, not 7..." C'mon folks, it was a pep rally, merely meant to fire up the home fans. Of course he was being overly optimistic, talking about what he wanted to accomplish. What should he have said at a pep rally...."Realistically, I'd love to win 2 or 3 titles before my buddy D. Wade's knees give out at age 32." Yeah, that would have gotten the crowd fired up.
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