Corporate Knowledge: Reaction to the “signature win” over the Heat
Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com: ‘”We’re starting, I think, to turn that corner,” said Duncan, who had 23 points and 11 rebounds. “Through up and downs we try to play as steady as we can. We have all the guys out there.” Never ones to offer much perspective publicly, the Spurs have started to mumble a little that this team might have more potential than last year’s team, which came up a Ray Allen 3-pointer short of beating the Heat for the title. That was a tough sell when they had an onerous 1-10 mark against the league’s other top-five teams this season. Now that mark is 2-10 and it feels better than that, as they outplayed and outran the Heat from the tip onward.”
Paul Garcia of Project Spurs: “In the fourth, Leonard continued to hound James on the perimeter, as two of Leonard’s five steals came in the fourth quarter. “He was a pest,” said Duncan of Leonard’s defense on James. “That’s what we need him to be. He stuck his hand in there, knocked some balls away, got some balls away, got some steals. He contested shots. I think he did a great job overall in every aspect.” When the time mattered most, it was Leonard who held James to 1-of-3 shooting in the fourth quarter and two turnovers.”
Fred Silva of Pounding the Rock: Tim Duncan played a fantastic game. The veteran led the Spurs with 23 points and 11 rebounds. He hit timely shots and was extremely efficient. In the offseason, Miami signed Greg Oden hoping he’d be able to help against Tim Duncan and Roy Hibbert. It didn’t go as the Heat had planned. Tim had his way with every defender the Heat threw at him. His 23 points were scored on just 13 shots. The Heat didn’t have an answer for Tim last season and it seems that has not changed.
Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated: “We appear to have hit the “diminishing returns” stage of the backlash to the short-sleeve looks. Although the sleeves still have plenty of critics, and James wasn’t pleased with the fit of his jersey, the outrage directed at the jerseys by fans and viewers on Thursday seemed less intense than the reactions to sleeved looks worn on Christmas and at All-Star Weekend. Are the anti-sleeved forces coming to terms with the idea that the sleeves are here to stay, or did the simpler, less outrageous designs of the “Latin Nights” jerseys help quell some of the concerns? These are life’s great mysteries.”
Michael Wallace of ESPN.com: “First, there was the mask. James had grown so frustrated with the mask he had worn to protect his broken nose the past week that he tossed it aside in the first quarter Thursday and played the rest of the game without it. Then, there was San Antonio’s defense. Using the same schemes that gave James problems through the first five games of the Finals last season, the Spurs backed off James on the perimeter and clogged the lane to keep him from getting clean drives to the basket. James eventually played his way into a rhythm last June over the final two games and guided the Heat to a Game 7 victory to secure their second consecutive championship. But this was a one-and-done night in the regular season, and once James missed five of his first six shots in the first quarter, he never established much of a flow offensively to emerge from his funk.”
Zach Harper of CBS Sports before last night’s game: “Before the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs even played Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals, we were starting to wonder where this series placed in NBA folklore. Regardless of how Game 7 played out, was it already one of the best NBA Finals series we’ve ever seen? Did the fact that we’d have a do-or-die Game 7 after six stellar exhibition of the best basketball you can dream up push this series over great, shorter series in the past like the 90’s battles between Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz? Was it already better than the seven-game Finals we had seen recently between the Detroit Pistons and the Spurs or the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics? The consensus amongst many writers and watchers was “yes” but it’s also easy to get swept up in recency bias to make you think the latest thing you experienced was the best ever. That’s kind of how things go on the internet these days.”