If you were anywhere near Miami last night, you might have noticed the Big Chill that arrived and lowered the Miami Heat’s temperatures to near morgue levels. No, it wasn’t a big Nor’easter with cold temperatures and high winds that came roaring down the Atlantic coast and iced up the Heat. No, this was in fact, a sou’wester that blew across the Gulf of Mexico, then stayed high above Alligator Alley before settling down on the court at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. This ‘storm’ disguised as a basketball team possessed not only long legs, but also some very long arms, and a strong can’t stop us kind of can do desire.
Actually this storm of a team arrived on Tuesday and threw a damper on the Heat’s first home game in the 2014 NBA Championship Series. To say that the San Antonio Spurs put a whooping on the Heat was being kind. That was Tuesday night, and yeah sure, any home team can have a clunker of a game, as in take a beating. It happens. But the Heat hadn’t lost back-to-back playoff games this year. So most folks thought the Heat would recoup, recharge, and recover from that blowout of a contest.
That is until the San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg ‘Pop’ Popovich with his legion of hoop doom known as Tim Duncan (above), Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Danny Green, and a couple of players called Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills (below), all suited up for Game Four.
The result, The Heat’s flame was once more extinguished in another horrendous blowout of a game. The score was 107-86 Spurs, but really, it was worse than that. The Spurs lead went from nine, into the double digits, and then passed the 20 point marker, before cresting at 25 points on the Heat’s home court.
Yup, this was the second game in a row that the Spurs raced ahead to the tune of 25 points or so. No one saw it coming. Not even in their worst nightmare. The Heat are now at a point where they can see that their hopes for a third championship in a row have undergone a massive meltdown, and that light that comes with being a champion is now no more powerful than just a flickering candle.
I like the style of play the Coach Gregg Popovich’s Spurs play. They play hard, fast, and smartly unselfish. Miami can do that too. So even though no NBA team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA finals and won, I expect the Heat to try to make it interesting, and if they go down to defeat on Sunday, they’ll play with everything they have.
But I also expect the Spurs to play just as well and as hard as they’ve done in the last two games. Post game, Coach Popovich was given a question that began with ‘Coaches are said to be hard to please, what was your reaction to the last two games? His response –
Coach Erik Spoelstra gave the Spurs plenty of credit. But he did say in the post game interview “That this was the last thing we expected [to be blown out again]. He also said, I’ve got to do a better job and we’ve got 48 hours to prepare.
Greg Cote of the Miami Herald wrote: The Heat looks like a team out of answers, and worse, out of belief. The Heat looks like a team out of hope, and just about out of time.
Ben Bolch writing for the LA Times noted that just following Kawhi Leonard’s thunderous two hand dunk on a put back of a three pointer by Patty Mills, that the Miami Heat fans “…known to give up on their team even in championship times, loudly booed the development Thursday night, with some heading for the exits, if just for a halftime break. There was no reason to return, really, unless it was to possibly say goodbye to the Miami Heat in a season that could be over as soon as Sunday.”
LeBron James responding to a question of how he felt sitting on the bench as the game wound down:
That was pretty succinct, and left no room or need to wonder. But as far as wondering goes. We don’t have to wonder what Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra was thinking. Just look at his face. If you thought he might have had trouble sleeping after the Tuesday debacle…Thursday night/Friday AM is likely to be a night without end.