Will it boil down to a Popo-Lebron Finals? | Inquirer Sports
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Will it boil down to a Popo-Lebron Finals?

So how will this year’s NBA Finals, which soar off tomorrow morning (Manila time), be any different from last year with the same Heat-vs-Spurs main cast clashing again?

Nothing sure, except that The Rematch promises to be doubly explosive.

No major deviation, no core change in lineups.


The Big Three at Miami (James, Wade, Bosh) heads directly in the path of San Antonio’s tested trio of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker.


* * *

Parker suiting up for Game One of the Finals in San Antonio was nothing more than a plan at press time.

Everything hinges on the state of Parker’s injured ankle, which had forced him to sit out the conference championship-clinching sixth game against Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, there was no such uncertainty out in Miami.

In fact, the Heat could only be buoyed up by the newfound maturity displayed to the fullest by a repackaged LeBron James when they finished off Indiana in six games for the Eastern conference crown.

* * *


Gladly gone was the ballhog of the last season, who nearly cost Miami the title with his shallow, selfish leadership.

LeBron this season is no longer the do-it-all main man who would often take over coaching at very frantic points of a game.

Remember how James cried out loud for a pass, but was refused by Chris Bosh, who slipped off a blind pass to Rey Allen at far corner for a triple which ultimately resulted in the extension of the series into a crown-clinching Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals?

How they succeeded in pitting James with a corrective radar and pressure corrector is hard to determine.

* * *

It has, however, become clear James will be out for a doubly dynamic role when the Heat go for an NBA three-peat starting tomorrow.

His new poise is now defined by a selfless leadership, and a reformed offensive style that seldom relies on a first step. His artillery includes attacking without the ball, and also wisely bouncing off passes, instead of forcing the issue, once confronted by a defensive wall.

* * *

So how does San Antonio plan to provide a foil to the reshaped Mr. James?

Don’t bother to ask coach Gregg Popovich, you won’t get an answer.

Remember how coach Popo took out Tim Duncan after the seasoned Spurs team pillar failed to swing through an offensive turn after San Antonio had started to fall behind in the second half of their Game 3 Western conference championship series against Oklahoma?

* * *

This was the same game where the fantastic Serge Ibaka returned from injury and was wreaking havoc on the Spurs.

Popovich did not offer any instant solution, and instead opted to bench his mainstays for the entire last quarter.

Pushed into the same situation in the next match, Popovich willingly yielded the floor by making his top players again ride the bench for most of the final quarter that saw Oklahoma equalizing (2-all) in the conference championship series.

* * *

How Popovich ably wiggled off from the 2-all standoff once the series returned to San Antonio continued to amaze experts and plain fans alike.

Did the Spurs coach turn the conference finals into a Popovich-Ibaka series?

Maybe yes, maybe not.

If at all, Popovich came up with intangibles, anchored on a selfless, soundless motion game for a solemn win-win orchestration never before seen in the NBA.

“Popo is not from this planet,” swooned workman Benny Ahillion, a seasoned sidestreet basketball scholar from bayside Cardona, Rizal.

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He said he would not be surprised if the 2014 NBA Finals turn into a Gregg Popovich-LeBron James series.

TAGS: Miami Heat, NBA, NBA Finals, San Antonio Spurs

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