The Miami Heat reached the finals defeating the Milwaukee Bucks 4-0 in the first round, the Chicago Bulls 4-1 in the Conference semifinals and the Indiana Pacers 4-3 in the Conference finals. They’re the NBA defending champions and reached their third straight final.
The San Antonio Spurs reached the final defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 4-0 in the first round, the Golden State Sarriors 4-2 in the Conference semifinals and the Memphis Grizzlies 4-0 in the Conference finals. In their history they won 4 NBA titles, the last one in 2007.
Game 1, Miami. June 6, 2013. The San Antonio Spurs start with a 9-2 run but the Miami Heat react untile they take the lead on 15-13 to close the first quarter 24-23. In the second quarter the Heat increase their lead up to 38-29 but the Spurs are able to come back and the first half ends 52-49 for the defending champions. The third quarter is really balanced, so as to end with the same lead for the Miami Heat on 72-69. In the fourth quarter Tony Parker starts scoring important points to give a small advantage to the San Antonio Spurs. LeBron James starts defending on him but when the Texan team is leading 90-88 Parker scores two incredible points at the end of the 24 seconds for the final 92-88 giving the Spurs a 1-0 lead in the series.
Game 2, Miami. June 9, 2013. The start for Danny Green, with three straight triples, give the San Antonio Spurs a 11-6 lead but Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers allow Miami Heat to take the lead on 16-15. The first quarter ends with a 22-22 tie. In the second quarter the Heat try to take the lead but the Spurs react to take a 34-29 lead. Each move of a team leads to a countermove from the other at the end of the first half the Heat lead 50-45. In the third quarter, without Tony Parker, well defended on by his opponents, the Spurs can still get closer in the score but the Heat seem to have something more even if LeBron James isn’t scoring a lot and they close the third quarter leading 76-65. The fourth quarter opens with a 9-0 for the home team that actually marks the end of the game. The Heat stop the last attempts of the Spurs and the last few minutes are garbage time. The Miami Heat win game 2 103-84 and tie the series on 1-1.
Game 3, San Antonio. June 11 2013. Early in the game the Miami Heat make several mistakes and the San Antonio Spurs take the first lead on 11-4. The defending champions react especially thanks to the Dwyane Wade’s points and the first quarter ends on 24-20 for the house team. The Spurs shoot well from 3-points, in particular Danny Green and Gary Neal, and in the second quarter they reach a 40-30 lead. The Heat contain the damage, although with just 4 points scored by LeBron James, and the first half ends 50-44 for the Texans. The third quarter starts with a new run for the San Antonio Spurs, who reach a 59-46 lead. Mike Miller can answer only in part with his 3-pointers and LBJ starts scoring as well but it’s really too little and the third quarter ends 78-63 for the Spurs. In the fourth quarter the Texan team goes on with its 3-point shooting show for a total of 16/32 and on 86-63 the game is over even if there are still 10 minutes left on the clock. Game 3 ends 113-77 for the San Antonio Spurs, who go 2-1 in the series.
Game 4, San Antonio. June 13 2013. The start is in favor of the San Antonio Spurs, who take a 15-5 lead with a good Tony Parker despite some physical problems. Dwyane Wade is the first to answer for the Miami Heat and LeBron James follows him until they take a 25-21 lead. The first quarter ends with the Heat ahead 29-26. In the second quarter the visitors extend their lead to 41-31, but the Spurs react, also thanks to Boris Diaw coming off the bench. The first half ends with a 49-49 tie. In the third quarter there is a balance then the Miami Heat take a new lead on 74-66, thanks to the Chris Bosh being very effective both offensively and defensively. Gary Neal, who was having a bad game, does something good but the third quarter ends 81-76 for the Heat. In the fourth quarter the visitors are still the ones who do the best things and the Spurs fail to keep their pace. James ends with 33 points, Wade with 32 points and Bosh with 20 points and 13 rebounds for the final 109-93 for the Miami Heat that tie the series again 2-2.
Game 5, San Antonio. June 16 2013. Manu Ginobili played quite poorly the first four games of this final series so coach Popovich has him start the game. Logical, isn’t it? In fact, the Argentine starts well but the Miami Heat initially remain in contact. After a few minutes the San Antonio Spurs have a run that gives them a 32-19 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter of Danny Green’s triples give the home team a lead that already seems important but the Heat react with Wade, Bosh and, with LeBron James suffering a great defence, with Ray Allen. The first half ends 61-52 for the Spurs. In the third quarter LBJ gives something to his team for a run that almost completes his team’s come back up to 61-60. For a few minutes the game is balanced but then it’s Manu Ginobili again who scores important points (ending with 24 points) marking the new Spurs’s run to end the third quarter 87-75 for them. That run goes on in the fourth quarter, also thanks to Leonard and Duncan. On 94-75 the game seems over but Allen and Bosh react again. In the last minutes the San Antonio Spurs score important points to win the game 114-104 taking back the lead in the series 3-2.
Game 6, Miami. June 18 2013. The beginning of the game is balanced and neither team take a real lead though Tim Duncan looks 10 years younger so it’s inevitable that the first quarter ends 27-25 for the Miami Heat. In the second quarter the challenge seems between Dwyane Wade and Duncan and the guest team takes an advantage finishing the first half 50-44. In the third quarter the San Antonio Spurs try to take control of the game but the Heat don’t collapse even when the gap is in double figures. The third quarter ends 75-65 for the Spurs. In the fourth quarter LeBron James wakes up and thanks to him – so much that he’ll finish the game with a triple double – the Heat recover ad even take a 84-82 lead. The last minutes are very tense and the Spurs seem ready to do it with a 5-point lead in the last minute but the home team try it until the last second and 5 seconds from the end of the regulation Ray Allen scores a triple for the 95-95 tie. The extra time is still very tense, with errors by both teams. In the end, the Miami Heat make less mistakes and win the game 103-100 and tie the series 3-3.
Game 7, Miami. June 20 2013. The San Antonio Spurs take the first lead on 11-4 but the Miami Heat remain in contact and at the end of the first quarter they take the lead closing it 18-16. In the second quarter the home team increases its lead but only briefly because the Spurs react and for several minutes the game is balanced. LeBron James starts scoring but his opponents are not giving up and the first half ends 46-44 for the Heat. The third quarter is still balanced and neither team seems able to take a decisive lead. It’s inevitable that at the end of the third quarter the lead for the Heat is minimal on 72-71. The fourth quarter is more tense than ever, defenses are tough and shooting percentages are far from extraordinary. The Spurs are trying to take the lead but the home players keep them behind. LeBron James, who’s going to end with 37 points and 12 rebounds, makes important plays that lead to a final 95-88 that gives the Miami Heat the Game 7 victory and their second consecutive NBA title.
It was a strange final series: in a basketball where everything is analyzed in their tiniest details most of the games wer won thanks to intangibles that broke the balance. That’s how in a series that overall was very balanced there were games one of the teams ended up dominating.
The San Antonio Spurs were able to give battle to the end thanks to their extraordinary organization. At the end of Game 6 they had the great opportunity to win this title and they needed just a little bit more to do it. Probably for this team this was the last chance to win the NBA title because of the Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili’s age and of course it will be extremely difficult to replace them.
The Miami Heat have suffered a lot but in the end they won another NBA title. LeBron James (photo ©Keith Allison) suffered at several points the Spurs defense but in the last two games of the final series he gave what his team needed deserving to be named MVP of the finals again. People are already wondering if there will be changes for next season thinking about how much the Big Three cost and Dwyane Wade’s knee problems but there’s time for that because right now the Heat can celebrate the third NBA title in their history.