It’s a great matchup featuring the four-time MVP attempting to exact revenge on many of the same players who swept his Cleveland Cavaliers in 2007, when ’Bron was admittedly “20, 40, 50 times” worse than he is now.
Six years ago his training wasn’t complete. Now the man is a Jedi.
San Antonio, of course, is anchored by Duncan, whose own coach once explained his decision to rest his center by writing “Old” under the Did Not Play portion of the pregame lineup card.
“He is old,” Gregg Popovich blurted out Wednesday before the Spurs practiced. “. . . Older than dirt.”
Indeed, Timmy is 37 and about calcified by now. He still tilts his head quizzically during news conferences and responds to each question with the combined excitement of Alan Greenspan and Spock.
But he can become just the second player in league annals to have won titles in three decades (John Salley won with Detroit in ’89 and ’90, the Bulls in 1996 and the Lakers in 2000). Well, that only happens if Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili run circles around a dinged-up Dwyane Wade and the Heat’s perimeter defense and the Spurs’ role players are up to the task.
Oh, misconceptions. You need to know about misconceptions before this series:
The Heat is cool, hip and young to the Spurs’ fuddy-duddy old: Nope. Contrary to popular belief, the Spurs did not arrive here on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. Yes, Duncan, Ginobili and Parker are a combined 103, and they remember when the Dead Sea was just getting sick. But Miami actually has an older roster — an average age of 29.9 years (second-most ancient in the NBA behind the Knicks) vs. the Spurs’ 28.2 years (the sixth-oldest roster in the league.)
The Spurs’ rotation players — Tiago Splitter, Gary Neal, Danny Green and Leonard — are all in their 20s. Beyond young bucks Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen (37), Chris Anderson (34) Mike Miller (33) and Udonis Haslem (32) have much more wear and tear than the Spurs’ role players.
ABC will intersperse clips of ’90s all-stars during the 2013 Finals: No again. But when cutaways of Juwan Howard on the Heat bench and Tracy McGrady on the Spurs bench are shown, it’s easy to understand the confusion.
Right now you’re thinking, Wait, how are those two still collecting a paycheck to play in the NBA? Did Pat Riley and Popovich go on archaeological digs?
T-Mac is actually just 34 years old. He played in China last season, and the Spurs signed him in mid-April, making him eligible for the playoff roster. Get this: After eight years of playoff basketball in Toronto, Orlando, Houston and Atlanta, McGrady was part of his first postseason series victory when the Spurs swept the banged-up Lakers in the first round. He even got minutes in the final game.