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The Finals preview that never happened
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On June 5, 2013 @ 10:22 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — If not for the wily ways of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, this chess match that will be the NBA Finals may have started way back on Nov. 29.
The preview against the Miami Heat was not to be because Popovich sent his four best players on a Southwest Airlines flight home for some early-season rest, and the Heat would respond in kind on March 31 when they sat LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Two games that could have provided early signs of who had the edge were rendered meaningless, the scouting report slate wiped clean as a result. The NBA fined the Spurs $250,000 for sending their stars home.
Yet as this situation comes full circle, the reality is that there are no mysteries when it comes to this matchup. Each team has its three stars — the Heat with James, Wade and Chris Bosh and the Spurs with Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. Each team has depth and role players whose jobs are hardly secrets. Each team has a system that has been on display for quite some time, a style that is easy to identify but nearly impossible to stop.
“The Spurs are the Spurs,” Heat small forward Shane Battier said in a refrain that just as easily applies to the Heat. “The Spurs have been the Spurs for, it seems like, the last 25 years.
“Their style doesn’t change. … Every time you play them they’re going to be well coached. They’re going to play hard. They’re going to pass the heck out of the ball, they’re going to space the floor and make you beat them. That’s the formula no matter who’s playing for them.”
If a positive came out of the incident for the Spurs, it was that guard Danny Green was one of the guys sent home. It was their Big Three and then it was Green, and it was nothing short of flattering … [For more on The 2013 NBA Finals preview that never happened, click here.]
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