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The Not Boring NBA Finals

During halftime of Game 1 I decided I’d check out what was happening on Facebook since well, that’s what you do when you’ve got nothing else to do and feel like wasting 15 minutes of your time. You go online and see what all of your “friends” are complaining about. I put friends in quotations because at least 70% of the people I’m Facebook friends with I never talk to, and probably will never talk to for the rest of my life.

So during halftime, one of my acquaintances on Facebook complained that he was bored watching the NBA Finals. He is a baseball player, which makes his Facebook post funny considering baseball, according to me, is without question the most boring sport you could watch on television. I’d rather watch basketball, football, hockey, golf, tennis, soccer, boxing, mixed martial arts, 90% of the events at the Summer Olympics, and curling than baseball. I’m sorry, but I’ll never be able to get into a sport that is played where players are way overpaid, the game is played at such a slow pace, and the league is infested with steroid users. There are four takeaways from this introduction:

1: Baseball wouldn’t have a chance of catching on as a professional sport if it were invented in the year in 2000.
2: I’m giddy to see so many baseball players get busted for PED’s. It couldn’t happen to a crumbier group of individuals.
3: The aforementioned Facebook friend was deleted immediately for posting something so nonsensical.
4: Game 1 was not boring. Game 1 was a lot of things, but boring was not one of them.

Game 1 was a stomach punch.

Has there ever been a more dramatic inside of two minutes review than Tony Parker’s shot clock buzzer beater with 5 seconds left? I can’t recall one that’s even close given the moment in the game and the game itself, being the NBA Finals and all. Thanks to the 257 replays they showed during the game, I got to relive Tony Parker punching me in the stomach over and over again while yelling “Sacreblue!” for 3 minutes while the refs huddled around a monitor. Not only did Parker get the shot off with less than one tenth of a second left, but that ball did its best to bounce out. It popped up and hung on the rim just long enough for me to think it was going to rim out, but lo and behold it went through. Parker was the best player in the 4th quarter (10 points) and ultimately that’s what won San Antonio the gamee. I don’t know if stomach punch is even the best way to describe what I feel like Tony Parker did to me. This is probably a better way to put it.

Game 1 was typical 2013 Miami Heat playoff basketball.

Jun 6, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) hits a shot with 0.1 on the shot clock and 7.4 on the game clock in front of Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) in the fourth quarter during game one of the 2013 NBA Finals at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

When LeBron said, “Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven” was that a prediction for how many titles the Heat were going to win while he was there or how many seasons he was hoping it would be until the people starting jesting that the Heat had become the Miami Cavaliers? I’m starting to think it’s the latter, but what do I know. LeBron posted a rare 18-18-10 triple double and didn’t get a whole bunch of help from the other two members of the Big Three. Dwyane Wade played a forgettable game (17 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 0-2 shooting in the 4th quarter) and Chris Bosh (13 points, 5 rebounds, 0-4 from downtown) must’ve went to Vegas before the series and parlayed “Yes, Sonny Giuliano will throw something against a wall in a fit of rage after Chris Bosh misses multiple wide open three-pointers in the playoffs” with “Chris Bosh averages under 6 rebounds per game in the NBA Finals.” He hasn’t won yet but he’s well on his way. I hate to sound like a broken record, but there is only so much LeBron can do. The Spurs defense was designed to make LeBron a passer, which accounts for only 18 points tonight. I’d be willing to bet he’ll score more as the series goes on, but that isn’t what really matters. If Bosh and Wade don’t start playing like their salaries say they should the Spurs will be raising banner number five in a hurry, regardless of if LeBron tries to put the team on his back.

Game 1 was a vintage Tim Duncan performance.

I hate Tony Parker for what he did to me at the end of Game 1 (the grisly details are coming up) and because of the man crush my arch nemesis Skip Bayless has on him, but I have nothing but love for Tim Duncan. I went into this series with the belief that for the Spurs to win the title Duncan needed to have three throwback Tim Duncan games. Well, one down, two to go. Duncan carried the Spurs in the 2nd quarter with 12 points after picking up two fouls and being held scoreless in the 1st. He had his way with Chris Bosh all night and converted two huge free throws with under a minute left to extend the Spurs lead to four.

He notched 20 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks. This was the 14th time in Duncan’s career that he put together a 20 point and 10 rebound game in the Finals, a number that jumps a whole bunch of levels of impressiveness when you consider that the first time he did it was in 1999; that was the the year I entered 2nd grade, the year Napster debuted, one year after Michael Jordan played his last game for the Chicago Bulls, five years before the Charlotte Bobcats became an NBA team, and the year Tim Duncan was only 22 years old. He’s 37 now. I’m entering my senior year of college, Napster has been replaces by iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora, and Michael Jordan owns the Charlotte Bobcats. Tim Duncan is still putting up 20-10 games in the NBA Finals. I guess some things never change.

Game 1 was a great night for true basketball fans.

I’m sure you’ve heard enough of the legacy stuff. And the x’s and o’s of every game will be beaten to death over the days following each game. Game 1 became a great night for basketball fans early in the 1st quarter when Tim Duncan got caught guarding LeBron on the perimeter. LeBron sized him up, attacked the basket and scored. It wasn’t the result that made that sequence great. It was the moment. One player is at the peak of his powers while the other is fighting for one more reign at the top of the mountain. You can’t ask for anything better as a basketball fan. And you certainly can’t call that boring.

sonnygiuliano