"Ahh, I was wondering what would break first, your spirit or your body." Bane, The Dark Knight Rises.
Sorry, The Dark Knight Rises as been on HBO a lot the last couple of days, so that quote has been on my mind. The San Antonio Spurs may be broken. Their spirit may be broken from letting a five point lead (and their fifth championship) slip away with less than 30 seconds to go in regulation. The bodies could be broken from going all out in an overtime game that saw Tim Duncan play 44 of those 53 minutes and get his knee rolled up on.
Still, that was Game 6 and it only tied up the series. It's entirely possible this isn't the back breaker many Spurs fans thought it to be immediately following the loss. It hurt, but in the way a shot to the body hurts. It puts you down for a bit, but unless it's a nice kidney shot like Miguel Cotto used to throw, it's not going to put you down for good.
"The night is darkest just before the dawn. And the dawn is coming." Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight
Yes, another quote. This one from the The Dark Knight. Judging by my social media feeds, Spurs fans are either sad because they think Miami will wrap this up in Game 7 or they're angry because Manu Ginobili and Danny Green both got fouled on their final shots and the referees swallowed their whistles. I won't argue one way or another. It's completely irrelevant now.
Rebounding from a loss like this is going to take leadership, which the Spurs have both on the court and on the bench. It's also going to take a confidence that they can beat this Heat team one more time. They know they can, they know this series should be wrapped up by now. They know Miami hasn't beaten them twice in a row yet. They know Tony Parker played terribly for most of the game. They know they didn't get their three-point shooters enough open looks. They know it took a heroic triple double effort from LeBron James, plus some missed free throws, plus a couple of missed rebounds that led to desperation three-pointers for Miami to win. That game was everything you wanted from LeBron James. He didn't force anything early, found the Miami shooters and let the game come to him. Then he flipped a switch in the fourth quarter and attacked like a mad man. And Miami still barely pulled this game out. That doesn't mean they won't play better, it just means the Spurs didn't play great and they were still right there at the end.
"Suffering builds character." Talia Al-Ghul*
Oh yeah, another Dark Knight Rises quote. This one goes out to Manu Ginobili. San Antonio's favorite Spur was not good in Game 6. The eight turnovers were particularly unsettling, but also an outlier statistically, even for Ginobili's mostly not good play in the postseason. The offensive execution fell flat late, which is also isn't likely to happen again. The guard production was bad, which also isn't consistent with what we've seen this post season. This loss is on Tony Parker, Ginobili and Danny Green's poor play as much as anything else. All three have shown an ability to shake off bad games, shots, etc. How they respond to this loss will influence the outcome of Game 7 in ways we probably can't even measure.
I don't know what's going to happen Thursday night, in part because this is kind of uncharted territory for this Spurs team. Popovich, Duncan, Parker and Ginobili are the only ones left that dropped Game 6 to Detroit in 2005, only to come back and win Game 7, but that was at home. The Heat, energized from this possibly brief reprieve from a summer full of questions, may come out and knock the Spurs out from the opening tip. Dwyane Wade may decide to go off like he did in Game 4. But nothing about this series or this Spurs team says this will happen. And if the Spurs do lose it won't be because they're an emotional wreck. That's not really their style. That's pretty much the anti-Popovich/Duncan way.
Every time the Spurs have faced a challenge they've responded in a positive way. This is a bigger challenge with bigger consequences, but it doesn't mean they won't rise to the occassion. It also doensn't mean they will. Just don't write this season's obituary yet. This series has been too unpredictable for that.
*All these quotes came from villains who eventually died at the end of these movies, so take that for what it's worth too.
There is a silver lining in this situation for spurs fans. Did anyone see Lebron after the game? The man looked exhausted. Wade's knee is a little worse than it was yesterday. Are the spurs tired? Yeah. But we can all bank on the fact Miami is just as tired or even more. Back to back seven game series?? That has to take a toll on your body. People say Miami is pretty much unstoppable when their backs are against the wall, and I agree. Well, now BOTH teams' backs are against the wall, so the Heat will be playing against a team who will match their energy.. We will be playing with the same amount of urgency as Miami. This isn't a team getting blown out one game, then playing inspired and routing the other team in the next match, like how most of the series has panned out. We blew them out in game 5, and they were supposed to play inspired in game 6. For 3 straight quarters, we controlled game 6 and actually showed the world that even when Miami is playing with massive urgency, they can be put in a hole. It's just that 4th quarter was a combination of Miami starting to make plays, Miami getting lucky rebounds and lucky shots, Manu turning the ball over like an idiot, and one or two questionable calls by the refs. But, in a game where Miami was supposed to dominate (after getting blown out previously), we were able to show them up for most of the game. That's saying something to me. Now WE are just as inspired, and I honestly believe Miami is a litte more tired than us. The wild card will be Manu. I'm sure he feels he cost the spurs the game, and most of us agree with him. His eight egregious turnovers kept Miami in the match, especially during the 4th quarter. Manu knows he owes his team one, and owes the city of San Antonio one. Hopefully, that will inspire him. Just one more game is all that's left. Wow
Here's what I said on one of WOAI's pic referring to this final game approaching:doesn't matter where the game is being played, just saw that LeBron (and as many others are) is nervous about Game 7 and the Heat should be. think about it, they never experienced a Game 7 in the FINALS (with the exception of Ray Allen who ended up not winning that year). Tim, Tony, Manu and Coach Pop have been in one before, even though it was at home, again doesn't matter WHERE Game 7 is being played. as long as they can FOCUS for the whole game (aka limit turnovers and fight for REBOUNDS) and hopefully not get worn out, they still got the chance to win. I don't care about the odds, meaning about how rare it is to win Game 7 of the Finals on the road. if anyone can do it, it can be this Spurs team, they should come out with anger and hunger.
@rick_n_roll I just REALIZED that. Almost everyone on Miami, including their big 3, have not played in a game 7, EVER!!! Wow, something they actually have no experience in....that's crazy. It's funny because I saw those interviews. The "King" is admitting he is nervous, Wade says his knee is hurting AND he is pretty nervous. Hopefully, this will work in our favor. I hope the spurs play pissed off. After what happened yesterday, they SHOULD be angry. Miami didn't outplay them, The spurs just crumbled (turnovers, missed free throws, jacking up circus shots), it was all on us. I'm sure the spurs are mad as hell they let that one go, and want to atone for that. Tim Duncan says he is not nervous and the pressure doesn't phase him. The "King" says he is nervous. One of these two is a little more prepared for game 7.
Don't go quietly into that good night... Rage....Rage !! They will play with power, heart, and skill. For the SPURS who are about to war... we salute you and will thee to triumph !!
"Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up." - Alfred, Bruce Wayne's butler, made it all the way through the end