Organized Sports is a recurring sports column named for a seminal DC avant-hardcore song by the equally stupid and brilliant (to me, “equally stupid and brilliant” pretty much just means “brilliant”) band Void. Take from that what you will.
While the NBA Playoffs have had some dud series and a number of dud games, now fans have to realize that after a couple more weeks, no more basketball until fall. So savor this Spurs-Heat final even if you don’t have a horse in the race—it should be good to watch.
Recaps and predictions after the jump.
Grading the Western Conference Finals
(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (5) Memphis Grizzlies
Prediction: Grizzlies in 6
Actual Result: Spurs in 4
The Grizzlies had gotten better since they were the eight-seed that knocked off the number one San Antonio Spurs a couple of years ago, but what wasn’t as clear was how much better the Spurs had gotten as well. Tony Parker is now possibly the best point guard in the game since he learned to shoot, Tim Duncan is well rested and playing the best he has in five years, Ginobili is still doing his thing off the bench, and Kawhi Leonard is a star in the making. The Grizzlies could not do any damage inside, and without their inside game working, had nothing to support their already-weak inside game. I was about as wrong as wrong can be in predicting this series, but I don’t think anyone saw the Spurs dominating the way they did.
Grading the Eastern Conference Finals
(1) Miami Heat vs. (3) Indiana Pacers
Prediction: Heat in 5
Actual Result: Heat in 7
The way the Heat played in game seven of this series, blowing the Pacers off the floor in Miami on the back of a regularly great LeBron James performance, Dwyane Wade going throwback and hitting the offensive glass, and Ray Allen knocking down three dagger three-pointers that helped the Heat jump out to a big halftime lead, it doesn’t look like anyone can beat them. Except, there was a rest of the series, which cast doubts into people’s minds. The Pacers played great, but in the end they just weren’t good enough, and for that David Stern and ABC/ESPN are probably happy, because the ratings would not have been nearly as good for a Pacers-Spurs finals.
Overall Average Grade: C
NBA Finals Prediction
(1) Miami Heat vs. (2) San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs showed no weakness in the conference finals, sweeping the tough-minded, physical Grizzlies without much of a sweat. The Heat, on the other hand, showed plenty of weakness: that skilled bigs can at times have their way with the Heat’s smaller lineup, on both end of the floor; that Chris Bosh may not be the right power forward to go against a bigger team; that Dwyane Wade, at 31, could possibly already be washed up. The Heat don’t have a point guard to defend Tony Parker or to match his scoring at the other end. These are all reasons that the Heat could lose to the disciplined, veteran Spurs.
Here, on the other hand, are two reasons why they won’t: the Heat are the best defenders for both the ball carrier and the roll guy on the pick and roll, which makes up the majority of the Spurs’ outside-in defense; and the Heat have LeBron James.
Prediction: Heat in 6
Of course, I could be totally wrong. It’s happened before.