Yesterday saw amazing performances by both the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, and I want to give credit to each.
LeBron James is as polarizing an athlete as I have ever seen. He is either the greatest of all time or a bum. Everything good accomplished by the Heat is credited to Dwayne Wade and every failure blamed on James.
Can we stop that? Please?
James accomplished something in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals that only Elgin Baylor in 1961 had previously done: A stat line of at least 40 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists.
Read that again, I’ll wait….
LeBron’s game teamed with Wade’s 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists allowed the Heat to even their series with the Indiana Pacers at two each.
How dominant were Batman and Robin? They scored 38 straight Heat points. That’s just stupid.
As impressive as that was and the fact that the series would have been lost without that win, it does raise a serious concern.
Who else is going to step up and help the Dynamic Duo? They cannot carry the team all by themselves every game. They just can’t.
The supporting cast has been spotty at best. Mario Chalmers had 25 points in Game 3 and needs to step up again. Shane Battier and Mike Miller have been offensive disappointments. Udonis Haslem seems to have the best chance to be that next guy. He needs to.
Let’s not get fooled by yesterday’s Heat win. They are still facing a tough battle to get by the Pacers. If they do not, the pressure on them to win next year will be incredible.
Now to the most underappreciated, great franchise I have ever seen.
The Spurs won their 18th straight game yesterday. They are now 8-0 in the playoffs, having swept the Utah Jazz and now the LA Clippers. They won four NBA Championships between 1999 and 2007 and are far from done contending.
The picture that said a thousand words was a shot of coach Greg Popovich and stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker sitting on the bench just prior to the start of the second half of Game 3 against the Clippers. The Clippers were up 53-43 on the Spurs at the half after outscoring San Antonio 33-11 in the first quarter.
The three were as calm and relaxed as ever. No concern whatsoever. The Spurs proceeded to have a 24-0 third-quarter run on the way to their 96-86 win.
The Spurs are the epitome of teamwork.
Parker, Duncan and Manu Ginobili are without ego on the court. That’s what allows the Spurs to play the most beautiful brand of basketball in the NBA. The floor spacing combined with amazing ball and player movement should be required viewing for all youth basketball players.
Unlike the Lakers, the Spurs have done a great job of adding young players to their core of veterans. Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and DaJuan Blair are all contributing.
I can't wait for the Spurs and Thunder to meet in the Western Conference Finals. There is no doubt in my mind they are the two best teams in the NBA.
As much as I think the Thunder are ready, I can’t pick against the Spurs.
Follow on Twitter @sprtsramblngman.