After an incredible Game 6, here are my five thoughts from the NBA Finals.
1. Gregg Popovich (Spurs): As a former head coach, I have tremendous respect for what he's accomplished as a coach. That being said, I was absolutely shaking my head at some of his moves last night.
I'm sorry but you can't sit both Tony Parker and Tim Duncan at the start of the fourth quarter in a road game that you're leading and want to maintain and build on your lead and momentum. Manu Ginobili has been a great player for your organization and had a terrific Game 5, but he was utterly brutal on Tuesday night and as a coach you've got to sense it's not his night.
Parker must be on the floor to finish the game. If you don't want to use a timeout, fine then don't sub him out on defense then. Lastly, we all know you want to go small and switch all screens to prevent a clean three-pointer but not once, but twice offensive rebounds are given up.
Where is Tim Duncan? The best 3's come off of transition and offensive rebounds and the best rebounder was on the bench. Again, Pop is a Hall of Famer yet I'm sure he didn't sleep well last night and was second guessing some of his own moves late into the night.
They shot themselves in the foot in Game 6 and it will be tough to bounce back from.
2. LeBron James (Heat): Simply put, in spite of some 'interesting' decisions and turnovers late he ruled in the paint. Miami must look to put him in Post more in Game 7 and surround him with the shooters.
3. Chris Bosh (Heat): Say what you want about his inconsistent stats in the playoffs and finals, but the man showed up in a big way on Tuesday. He got some huge blocks, key rebounds, timely shots and all out hustle. He also displayed terrific awareness to what needed to be done at the right times. I was really impressed by his attention to detail.
4. Spurs Recovery: There will be lots of wreckage and collateral damage on Wednesday morning for them to deal with after the heartbreak of Game 6. They have 36 hours to put it behind them, and if any team can do it, it's them.
It's vital that they get off to great start on Thursday night and they must find ways to better execute their offensive game plan. Late in Game 6, Miami's defensive pressure caused the Spurs to wilt. Offensive toughness and defensive attention to detail are the keys for Spurs in Game 7.
5. Miami Role Players: Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller, Shane Battier and Chris Anderson showed last night that as great as LeBron is, you need the supporting cast to make plays, compete and rise to the challenge. They did all that and more on Tuesday.
Heat president Pat Riley looked quite stressed on Tuesday but in his reflective moments today he will feel good about the collective focus and 'compete level' of these five men heading into Game 7.
NOTE: I picked Miami to win in seven games and I'm sticking to it. I've been rooting for the Spurs though and I'm heartbroken right now about Game 6. I think Miami's going to be raring to go Thursday, yet I hope I'm wrong.
Toronto Maple Leafs fans can relate to the Spurs' collapse on Wednesday and that was devastating. Try getting over it in less than two days. It will not be easy yet if they get off to good start tomorrow and keep the foot on the gas pedal, who knows, but I doubt it.