‘You showed the world the beauty of basketball’ | Inquirer Sports
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‘You showed the world the beauty of basketball’

LeBron James, scouring the basketball skies on the eve of yesterday’s concluding championship game, tried to reject the anomalous 3-1 hole where his title-defending team had fallen in its NBA Finals playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs.

“Why not us?” James was overheared as muttering.

Truth was the Heat, after a robust, overpowering regular season fueled by James’ super power, suddenly softened and slipped starting Game 3 of the NBA Finals mano-a-mano against the Spurs.

After cramping out in Game 1, James did strike back in Game 2 to level off the title race.

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But Miami’s back-to-back meltdown in the two succeeding matches sent some unbelieving Miami followers wondering if the NBA defending champs had fallen into a spell right in their homecourt.

* * *

What happened?

“Just a great team and we do it together,” said Tony Parker, pesky, unsinkable San Antonio court general.

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“Hard to believe, isn’t it? We just played at a really high level,” said ageless team spark plug Manu Ginobili.

After yesterday’s big, big win, durable Spurs’ pillar Tim Duncan said he no longer mind what happened after they crashed while close to clinching the crown against Miami last year.

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* * *

Miami, as expected, spurted early yesterday to deviate from the sorry path of its two previous losses.

James went 5-7 from the field while grabbing six rebounds to almost singlehandedly push Miami to a fantastic 22-6  lead at the start.

San Antonio, however, went on a 35-point turnaround to take the lead, before turning its Game 5 duel against Miami into a third straight mismatch.

* * *

“You showed the world how beautiful this game is,” remarked NBA commissioner Adam Silver, maybe wanting to single out Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who took his fifth NBA crown in an uninterrupted 17-year stint with San Antonio, thereby cementing the team’s legacy through decades.

Vanquished but refusing to appear crumpled, Miami mentor Erik Spoelstra took his hat off to San Antonio.

“They were the much better team,” he said. “That’s how team basketball should be played.”

In fact, there were frantic parts in Miami’s offense yesterday when the fallen champions visibly tried to copy parts of the solemn methodical move-around play pattern patented by coach Popovich.

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If just for that, it can be said that the Miami Heat did try to give a decent fight in a bid to keep their pride intact.

TAGS: Basketball

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