Whether you’re the casual basketball fan, or the type of person who cant wait until the basketball season is over so its “closer” to football season, everyone can agree that this season in the NBA was unforgettable. The 2013 playoffs saw the likes of perennial powerhouses like the Los Angeles Lakers get swept out of the first round and the birth of new life into the playoffs scene. Before the season commenced, there were some hefty expectations for a number of teams, and we saw early that if you’re not getting the job done, you will be extinguished from the top spot in no time.
The NBA Finals started up on June 6th, shortly after the intense Heat-Pacers series ended. The Spurs had 10 days of rest and were eager to step on the court. The defending champion Miami Heat were tested all season, including a stretch where they reeled off an unheard of 27-game win streak, only to fall short of the 1971-72 Lakers 33-game win streak. The offseason addition of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis made it a lock that the Heat would repeat, but the addition of Chris “Birdman” Andersen was the real game-changer for the Heat. The NBA Finals would be a type of roller coaster, the type that has that first huge drop and has those small filler drops in the middle and then you go through one final drop, and then its over. The series would be on that was a back-and-forth, something you could compare to a heavyweight championship bout, devastating blow after blow.
The first game of the Finals set the tone for the next six. The Heat were outsmarted in the first game but had a chance late in the game to steal a win, but the MVP candidate Tony Parker, who had been stellar all game with 21 points, scored the most important two with a circus bank shot with 5.2 seconds left in the contest. The Heat then found out the hard way that it was going to take more than Mario Chalmers to defend Parker. Duncan added 20 points and 14 rebounds in Game 1, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only other player to have 20 points and 14 rebounds in a Finals game at 35 or older. After Game 1 we would see a string of blowouts, alternating game by game. The Heat were the first to send a message, clobbering the Spurs by 19 points and sending the series to San Antonio tied at a game apiece. If you thought the Heat sent a message in Game 2, the Spurs sent a reply in Game 3, setting an NBA Finals record for the most three pointers by a team and defeating the Heat convincingly, 113-77. The seesaw battle would continue with the Heat evening up the series behind an energy filled game from the Heat, in a 109-93 win. In a 2-2 series, the team that wins Game 5 is statistically usually the winner of the Finals. In their last game at home for the season, the Spurs would hold on to a 114-104 victory over the Spurs to grab command and a chance at winning the title on Miami’s court in Game 6.
Fast forward to 30 seconds on the clock, the Heat with their backs completely against the wall, fans are pouring out of the arena and losing all hope simultaneously. Not until a little help by Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard is it that the Heat rallied down 5 and tied the game with a desperation side three from none other than Ray Allen that tied the game and would send it to overtime. Fans were trying to get back in to the arena and weren’t let back in. Chris Bosh had few words to say to the fans that left but “Don’t come back for Game 7”. The Heat would find it within themselves to win in overtime 103-100 behind 18 fourth quarter/overtime points from Lebron James. Game 7 from start to finish was a defensive battle that would see the game come down to the last two minutes. This is what the NBA is all about, this is where amazing happens, and that is what we got. All game, Spurs head coach Greg Poppovich told Kawhi Leonard to lay off of Lebron and let him keep shooting, and he would eventually put the Spurs to rest with his jump shot. James had 37 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Heat to their second straight title. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was confident in Lebron no matter what the circumstances were. “It became time. [James] always rises to the occasion when it matters the most, when the competition is fiercest. It was odd, all year he had been best perimeter jump shooter in the league though he’s an attacker and got to the rim, to the free-throw line.” Spoelstra also praised Dwyane Wade who added 23 points and 10 rebounds. As all Miami Heat fans saw the clock hit 0.0 and the buzzer finally blared throughout the arena, I can assure that every one of them in American Airlines Arena agreed with Lebron James “I Ain’t Got No Worries”.
By: Mitchell Brown