Berry Tramel

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NBA Finals: Shades of 2007 Cavaliers

by Berry Tramel Modified: June 13, 2014 at 11:15 am •  Published: June 13, 2014

Miami Heat forward LeBron James, right and guard Dwyane Wade sit on the bench during the last minutes in the second half in Game 4 of the NBA basketball finals against the San Antonio Spurs, Thursday, June 12, 2014, in Miami.  The Spurs defeated the Heat 107-86. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Miami Heat forward LeBron James, right and guard Dwyane Wade sit on the bench during the last minutes in the second half in Game 4 of the NBA basketball finals against the San Antonio Spurs, Thursday, June 12, 2014, in Miami. The Spurs defeated the Heat 107-86. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

In the 2007 NBA Finals, the Spurs swept the Cavaliers in four games. Two games were close. Two were not.

San Antonio won Game 1 85-76 but led by as many as 18. San Antonio won Game 2 103-92 but led by as many as 29. Then the Spurs closed out Cleveland with two narrow victories.

Now the Spurs lead another LeBron James team 3-1 in the 2014 Finals. The teams split narrow verdicts in the first two games, but the Spurs have won in consecutive routs – 111-92 and 107-86, leading by as many as 25 in both games.

In 2014, LeBron is in his prime. His fellow starters are Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers and Rashard Lewis.

In 2007, LeBron was 22 and nowhere near the player he is today. His fellow starters in the first two games of those Finals were Sasha Pavlovic, Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Larry Hughes. Daniel Gibson replaced Hughes in the final two games.

This Heat team is getting steamrolled the way that Cav team got steamrolled. That Cav team had a good excuse. Its young superstar couldn’t carry an inferior team. This Heat team has no such excuse.

Here’s what I saw from the Spurs’ Game 4 rout:

* Let’s compare back-to-back routs. Spurs-Heat and Spurs-Thunder.

NBA Finals:

Game 3, 111 points, 59.4 percent shooting, biggest lead 25, 48 paint points on 24-of-36 shooting.

Game 4, 107 points, 57.1 percent shooting, biggest lead 25, 46 paint points on 23-of-31 shooting.

Western Conference Finals:

Game 1, 122 points, 57.5 percent shooting, biggest lead 23, 66 paint points on 33-of-49 shooting.

Game 2, 112 points, 50 percent shooting, biggest lead 35, 54 paint points on 27-of-41 shooting.

The Thunder feels your pain, Heat. One big difference. The Thunder was taken apart in San Antonio. The Heat was taken apart in Miami.

* Boris Diaw is having a series for the ages. In Game 4, Diaw was 3-of-6 shooting for eight points, with nine rebounds and nine assists. For the series, Diaw has made just 10 of 26 shots – and might be in line to be the series MVP. Diaw has 34 rebounds and 23 assists. He’s played 138 minutes and committed just four fouls. Diaw’s plus/minus was a paltry plus-15 in Game 4. It had been plus-30 and plus-20 in the Spurs’ first two wins. Diaw is plus-60 for the series.

But Diaw doesn’t have the best plus/minus in the Finals.

Can you guess who?

Manu Ginobili. Don’t believe it? Here you go.

Ginobili plus-62, 115 minutes.

Diaw plus-60, 138 minutes.

Kawhil Leonard plus-47, 133 minutes.

Tim Duncan plus-41, 132 minutes.

Tony Parker plus-40, 140 minutes.

Tiago Splitter plus -14, 73 minutes.

Patty Mills plus-13, 58 minutes.

Danny Green plus-9, 87 minutes.

Matt Bonner plus-4, 20 minutes.

Marco Belinelli minus-23, 51 minutes.

Just as interesting as the plus/minus is the minutes played. Here are the Spurs’ rankings of minutes in this series: Parker (140), Diaw (138), Leonard (133), Duncan (132), Ginobili (115), Green (87), Splitter (73), Mills (58) and Belinelli (51).

* If you need to know, here are Heat plus/minus:

Bosh minus-56, 143 minutes.

Wade minus-44, 136 minutes.

Lewis minus-39, 105 minutes.

Ray Allen minus-39, 123 minutes.

LeBron minus-31, 148 minutes.

Norris Cole minus-23, 75 minutes.

Birdman minus-22, 72 minutes.

Chalmers minus-14, 101 minutes.

* Oh, I guess Leonard is the MVP favorite right now. Two monster games in Miami after the series was tied 1-1. Leonard’s Game 4 line: 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, 14 rebounds, three assists, three steals, three blocked shots.

Did you catch the words Gregg Popovich gave Leonard after the game? Told Leonard he should be proud of the way he competed.

And that’s true. Leonard got with it. Several times he got a rebound or a steal and, sensing the Heat’s fatigue, drove the ball himself upcourt. Rarely led to anything, but it sent a mighty message to Miami.

* Here’s Miami’s problem. The Heat is shooting 49.1 percent from the field in the series, including 42.9 from 3-point range. And is getting drilled.

The Spurs are shooting 54.2 percent from the field and getting a ton of offensive rebounds – 33 individual, to Miami’s 23 in the series.

The Spurs have three players with more assists than Miami’s lead. Diaw has 23, Parker 21 and Ginobili 18. LeBron leads Miami with 15.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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