San Antonio Spurs over Miami Heat 4-1
Miami had the best player on the planet, but the Spurs were so solid through their top eight players that it wasn't even close to mattering. There were literally times where I was thinking the Heat would be better off with Patty Mills than Dwayne Wade. The beauty of the system the Spurs play is that Boris Diaw was one of the more impactful players in the series despite averaging just six points a game.
Lebron's numbers were still solid (28 points and eight rebounds a game), but they seemed hollow except for a few brief stretches where he imposed his will on the game. James shot 57% from the field and 52% from three point range, but wasn't able to carry an exposed "supporting" cast. It didn't help that the Spurs were an absolute offensive machine.
A recurring theme of the broadcasts during the last three games was that it was shocking how thoroughly Miami was being dominated, but it wasn't really startling to me. I thought the dysfunctional Pacers would be able to superglue their team together long enough to beat a Heat squad that looked much less fearsome than in previous years. San Antonio had just handed out three savage beatings to the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. This series just reaffirmed what we already suspected.
The Western Conference is better than the East by leaps and bounds.
While there were some less auspicious takeaways from the Finals, such as the West being a buzzsaw and the obstacle the ageless Spurs appear to be to the Suns, I thought there were some very important positives. I was going to address this in a separate post, but my wretched torpidity reared its slothful head so this will have to suffice...
The Spurs were outliers. Traditionally, a superior talent is able to propel his team to victory. Magic, Bird, Jordan, Olajuwon, Shaq, Kobe, Duncan... Well, a few years back Duncan... and LeBron James.
However, now LeBron is two for five in the Finals and the Spurs won without that singular premiere talent that has been nearly indispensable in championship pursuits. The Spurs may be the first team since the Pistons to really break the mold. Throw in Dallas and maybe teams without the best player really do have a chance. Other things matter.
Players who are bought into the team concept, play for each other and check their egos at the door.
The Suns seem a lot closer to this type of model than they did two years ago.
The Winner - jack's complete lack of surprise
Congratulations to jack's complete lack of surprise for nailing these picks. Jack himself gets no such distinction.
You have earned my utmost respect. Sorry your prize sucks.