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Game 7: The Best

June 21, 2013

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(Photo by Jerry Lara of the San Antonio Express-News)

As someone who’s been a die-hard San Antonio Spurs fan for almost 40 years, watching a fifth championship slip through their grasp in Game 6 – followed just two nights later by seeing it snatched away for good by the Miami Heat – was about as painful a sports-related experience I’ve ever gone through.  And thousands of my fellow Spurs fans share in this misery right now.

Feeling this way, it’s awfully tempting to focus on everything that went wrong.  Instead, I’ve decided to emphasize all of the many great superlatives we witnessed during The 2013 NBA Finals…

  • The Best team of the past decade-and-a-half (the Spurs) – gave The Best team in the NBA (the Heat) all they could handle…and then some…and then a little more.
  • The Best player in the league, LeBron James, played The Best game of this series in Game 7.
  • The Best power forward of all time, Tim Duncan, was absolutely amazing the entire series, defying age, logic, and all odds to deliver a remarkable performance in all seven games.
  • Tony Parker played so fantastically throughout the playoffs, he now has to be considered The Best point guard in the NBA right now, and should be applauded for fighting through his hamstring injury and extreme fatigue to give the Spurs everything he had.
  • Despite having what may have been some of his worst moments during the late stages of Game 6, Gregg Popovich still remains The Best coach in the league.
  • With all apologies to Tim Duncan, perhaps The Best player for the Spurs from the start of Game 1 through the end of Game 7 was Kawhi Leonard, who made a strong case to be included among The Best young forwards in the NBA, and who certainly has The Best future ahead of him out of all those who played in The 2013 Finals.
  • While LeBron was clearly the MVP of The Finals and The Best player on the court in Game 7, the Heat ultimately would not have won this last game without an incredible long-range shooting performance from Shane Battier, who has to rank that among The Best games he’s ever played.
  • Game 6 was arguably The Best game in NBA history, and a compelling argument could be made for this being The Best NBA Finals series ever played.

As disappointed as I am at the outcome of The Finals, I’m even more proud of the valiant effort put forth by the Spurs, who showed unbelievable heart playing their guts out with practically nothing whatsoever left in their collective tank.  To say they played Game 7 running on fumes would be an understatement, yet they stayed right there within striking distance until the very end.

You’ve got to beat The Best to be The Best, and that’s exactly what the Miami Heat did – they beat The Best…they beat my Spurs.

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