Bob Ryan: ‘Heat And Spurs Will Split In Miami’
Only two points separated Miami and San Antonio in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, so of course people are going to question whether the Heat actually won the game or if the Spurs lost it.
But did the Spurs really blow an opportunity, or is this just the way the NBA Finals unfolds when you have two evenly matched teams?
Bob Ryan is going with the latter.
“I try to not get apocalyptic about any given game,” the Boston Globe columnist said on The John Feinstein Show. “Things happen. Guys make shots. LeBron made six in a row (in the third period). He turned it around when they were down six. I thought it was high-level NBA basketball.”
While James was yet again the best player on the court – he finished with 35 points and 10 rebounds – Chris Bosh may have been the most clutch. Bosh hit a big three-pointer late in the fourth quarter and found Dwyane Wade for an easy lay-up to ice the game with less than 10 seconds to go.
Miami won, 98-96, as Bosh finished with 18 points, three rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal.
“I think there were big plays made,” Ryan said. “I salute Bosh. Although I do have an issue, always, with the mindless double-teaming that leaves a three-point shooter – a noted three-point shooter – open at the wrong moment, I loved what he did when he made the pass to Wade. He beat (Tim) Duncan off the dribble and then made a beautiful bounce pass as if he were a 6-11 point guard. It was a beautiful play.”
Speaking of Duncan, he finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds, which is very good. But he also scored just seven points after the first quarter – and zero in the fourth. In fact, he took just one shot in the final period.
If James did that, he’d get destroyed. But Duncan does it, and there’s barely a peep.
“Well, first of all, that speaks to the nature of their game and their position,” Ryan said. “LeBron has the ball in his hands. They don’t need a point guard. The only reason they have a point guard is because the rules say you got to play five on the court at any given time. But most of the time, a Norris Cole or Mario Chalmers can go stand in the corner when they have the ball. That’s his job. And Duncan is a forward. Somebody has to get him the ball. He’s a reflection of the team approach to it as (much as) anything else.”
“But I know where you’re going with this,” Ryan continued. “He can do no wrong. He’s Tim Duncan. Well, he hasn’t ruffled feathers. He hasn’t polarized people. Rightly or wrongly – and I think it’s mostly wrongly – LeBron is one of those guys. He’s 10 years into his career, (and) people have made up their minds one way or the other whether they’re pro or con.”
“But Duncan doesn’t have anything like that on his dossier. Nor should he. That’s just the nature of his game. So I don’t see how there’s going to be any great criticism thrown at him for what happened there.”
Indeed, Miami simply made big plays in crunch time. It happens. And now, we move on to Game 3.
“To me, you just don’t overreact to one game in that regard,” Ryan said. “That’s why you have a series. I’m pretty confident they’ll split Games 3 and 4, one way or the other. And I think they’ll go back to San Antonio for a proper Game 5.”