Spurs win game 5 as Finals' swings continue
It has been a back and forth series with neither team able to put together consecutive wins. But to say that this year’s NBA Finals has been a series of ebbs and flows is a vast understatement. These back and forth matches have all been by large margins, with the exception of game one. The series has been characterized by huge swings back and forth rather than ebbs and flows.
The Spurs won game one by four points; in the four games since, the average margin of victory has been 20.25 points. These back and forth swings are incredible and unprecedented. Analysts who predicted this series to be a great matchup were both right and wrong. It has been back and forth as far as wins and losses, but each individual game has been a relatively lopsided affair (again, with the exception of game one).
In addition to huge swings in the team scores, we have also witnessed huge swings in individual performances. LeBron James started off the Finals failing to score 20 points in the first three games and looking a bit lost at times (though the Heat did win one of those games). Shane Battier has rarely played the entire series. Mike Miller has been hit or miss from game to game, sometimes looking like a sharpshooter and others simply looking like a guy with terrible hair who can’t defend. Chalmers has been the same (without the terrible hair). For reasons unknown, Coach Spo has decided to not play the Birdman (Chris Andersen) at all in games four or five. There was a Bosh sighting in game four as he scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds (no, that’s not a misprint).
Fans and analysts were already talking about Dwyane Wade’s imminent retirement and calling for him to be benched as he was pronounced useless and hobbled. That is, until he showed up and scored 32 and 25 in games four and five.
Similarly, analysts and others called for Ginobili to be benched or lose minutes as he struggled through much of the playoffs, and especially the Finals. Instead, Coach Pop started him in game five and he responded by scoring 24 points and dishing out 10 assists.
Danny Green has come straight from the D-League to set the NBA record for most three point shots in a Finals series, with one (possibly two) more games remaining! He has been the closest thing to a consistent performer in this series. Gary Neal has been mostly solid, with one incredible performance. Boris Diaw came out of nowhere and tried to defend LeBron James for parts of game five. And did it successfully (not a misprint)! Even the normally consistent Tony Parker and Tim Duncan have had their ups and downs this series.
The performances of these individuals have been swinging back and forth almost as wildly as the final game scores. The in-game action has been high scoring, but with little drama as one team is usually running away with the game down the stretch. It has made for interesting talk after each game as each game causes all sorts of over-reactions. Should we break up the Big Three? Will either team be able to respond after such a devastating blowout? Which Heat team will show up? Which Spurs team will show up? Are the Spurs too old? Should LeBron be more aggressive?
At this point, we will see if the Heat have one more huge swing left in them to win a game six and push the series to the full seven. If there’s been any consistency at all, it’s been that each team knows how to bounce back and win (big) after a loss. We will see how that plays out on Tuesday night in Miami.