Jun 20, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat and their fans celebrate after game seven in the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Miami defeated San Antonio Spurs 95-88 to win the NBA Championship. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Before we get to our final grades of this season, and the Finals, we at Air Alamo would like to send a big congratulations to the San Antonio Spurs for their hard work this season. Many didn’t believe this team built with old players chances of making it back to the playoffs, let alone the Finals, would find themselves back. Well they did, and all the nay-sayers can now go on and talk about their beloved Miami Heat, because this is what they (ESPN, David Stern) wanted.
Great job to the San Antonio Spurs and the organization for another great year. They capped off the season with their sixteenth straight playoff appearance. They now will go to work as the NBA Draft is right around the corner, they will once again find the sleeper of the draft and they will come on and play an important role on the team like many have in the past.
Jun 20, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) lays the ball up past Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) during the third quarter of game seven in the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Congratulations to the Miami Heat on winning their second consecutive title. They can’t say it was easy. San Antonio pushed them to the brink.
Now, onto the grades.
Who’s Hot. Kawhi Leonard. A season that was filled with many first for Leonard. His first NBA game, his first playoff series and now his first finals. For a 21 year old coming into the league, he surely played as if he been in that situation before. In game seven, you can say it was his National coming out party. Many may or may not of known who Kawhi Leonard is, but now they do. Leonard has the task night in and night out to defend the oppositions best player. In the NBA Finals, his task, guarding LeBron James. Many would shy away from this challenge but he [Leonard] lived for this moment, on the biggest stage in sports. Leonard scored 19 points and added 16 rebounds in his last game of the year. There are not many players that can come into the league, in their first year and do what he did. He still has a lot of room to improve. He has the best coach in all the NBA at his side, he had the chance of playing with future Hall of Famers, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. The future looks bright for this kid. San Antonio fans are going to be in for a treat watching him grow.
Who’s Not. Tony Parker. Parker you would think would want a chance to forget about his game seven performance. With the bigger LeBron James on him all game long, he ended going 3 of 12 from the floor for 10 points. In a game in which the San Antonio Spurs needed their leader to come out and take the game over, he didn’t. Maybe bothered by a nagging hamstring, he will be the first to say it has nothing to do with his health. The Miami Heat adjusted well and took Parker out of the game. Also, the Heat made it
difficult for Parker to find open teammates as he did the first six games of these series. When he did pass it out, the Heat were there to deflect or steal the ball. It was not a game Parker wanted to have with it being the final game of the year.
Turning Point. With .48 seconds left in the game, Tim Duncan had a perfect opportunity to tie it up with a shot in which he hits more times than not. Well, this time, the ball did not bounce the way the Spurs were hoping. From that point on, the game seemed to be inevitable and the Miami Heat were on their way to their second consecutive title.
Use your arrows to slide through the player grades we handed out.
Jun 20, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) reacts during the fourth quarter of game seven in the 2013 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Tony Parker | 10 points (3-of-12 shooting), 4 assists, 3steals Parker did not have the game that he hoped to. The defense of LeBron James on him made it hard for Parker to get any shot up, as well as hard to pass over the top of him. The Miami Heat did a phenomenal job on taking him out of the game. Parker looked fatigued in the last two games of the series. Game six seemed to have taken its toll on the point guard. Usually ten points from Parker would not be a big deal but when it is the final game of the season, and he was forced to work extra hard for shots and to look for his teammates, it spelt doom for him.
Final Grade: D+
Jun 20, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili (20) reacts during the first quarter of game seven in the 2013 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Manu Ginobili | 18 points (6-of-12 shooting), 5 assists, 4 turnovers Ginobili did limit his turnovers but there were two in the final quarter that really came back to haunt him as well as the Spurs. In a way, you just can’t get mad at Ginobili as the things he does he has been doing since he put on a Spurs jersey. You can sit and say, this is the finals, there is a time and place to do what he has been doing, trust me I know, I said the same thing. This is him though. This is how he plays. Ginobili came on and scored 18 points in his final game of the season. The key was for him go to come and get him going. He had glimpses of the old Ginobili, the slicing through defenders and finishing at the rim. We needed to see more of this from him, not taking three’s early in the shot clock. He wasn’t as consistent as one would hope for. If you have played organized basketball before you know sometimes they fall, sometimes they don’t. This was the case for Ginobili.
Final Grade: C
Jun 20, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Danny Green (4) shoots against Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) and small forward LeBron James (6) during the second quarter of game seven in the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Danny Green | 5 points (1-of-12 shooting), 5 rebounds, 2 steals Danny Green seemed to have slipped back to his games he had in the Western Conference finals a year ago against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The first five games of this series, he was shooting lights-out and set a Finals record for most three pointers in Finals history. Then game six and game seven happened. Green was a non-factor as the Miami Heat did not give him any room to put up a shot, when he did find a little, he did not connect. This off-season I would like to hope that Green work more on a mid-range game. Teams are not going to leave him open from beyond the arc and force him to dribble inside. This is what the Heat did and he could not connect. Green can look back on the first five games of this series and it should help me overcome the way he played the last two……maybe not.
Final Grade: F
Jun 20, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dunks against Miami Heat power forward Chris Andersen (11) during game seven in the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mike Erhmann-Getty/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Kawhi Leonard | 19 points (8-of-17 shooting), 16 rebounds, 1 steal Leonard will be the only other player that I give at least an “A” too. This was his coming out party. For those that did not know whom this young 21 year old kid out of San Diego State is, well now they do. Having the task of guarding the leagues best player and doing a great job with it, to making big shots, grabbing key rebounds for your team , Leonard continued to do this in game seven. With his 19 points and 16 rebounds, he awed the commentators (yes hard to believe) with his relentless play and how great of a rebounder he is for his position. As I stated, he is only 21 years old. He had a chance of playing with possibly three Hall of Famers. The future for this kid is really bright.
Final Grade: A+
Jun 20, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (21) looks to drive against Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) during the third quarter of game seven in the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Duncan | 24 points (8-of-18 shooting), 12 rebounds, 4steals The Best Power Forward Of All Time. As he did in game six, Duncan came out with one goal, win his fifth NBA Championship. Though he came up just short, you can’t help but feel for this 37 year old still playing at such a high level. Duncan has stated that what will haunt him more about game seven is that jump hook shot he attempted with .48 seconds left in the game. You don’t have to be a Spurs fan to feel the pain that Duncan felt in that situation. A shot in which he has made over and over again through-out his career, just didn’t go his way on Thursday night. He still poured in another double-double, 24 points and 12 rebounds. He still has a lot of fight left in him. He will be back.
Final Grade: A+
Jun 20, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Boris Diaw (33) reacts during the first quarter of game seven in the 2013 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Neal | 5 points (2-of-7 shooting), 4 rebounds, 1 assist Neal was one of three players that Popovich decided to use in game seven. He played 26 minutes and hit one three-pointer, which came as he threw a prayer up with the shot clock winding down. Neal had a game to remember in this series during game five where he and Green went bonkers. He too needs to work on his inside game, floaters, mid-range, something because teams have figured out that if they make him drive inside, the chances of him making the shots are slim.
Final Grade: C-
Boris Diaw | 5 points (2-of-2 shooting), 3 rebounds, 1 assists Diaw just does everything right when he is on the floor. He is the type of player that everyone wants on his team. He hit a big three pointer late in the game that drew the Spurs within the Heat. His defense has been overlooked and during this game he was on LeBron at times and continued to do a great job on him.
Final Grade: B