Any talk tonight* about LeBron’s legacy or whatever Miami is going to do this offseason does a tremendous disservice to the San Antonio Spurs, who have just been magnificent these past few weeks (and this whole season, and really throughout the entire duration of the Tim Duncan/Gregg Popovich partnership). I’ve remarked a few times that I couldn’t recall seeing a basketball team that was better from top to bottom than San Antonio in these playoffs, and this stat would lend some credence to the idea that they at least belong in the discussion for best postseason of my lifetime, and ever:
— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) June 16, 2014
+70 is largest point differential in Finals history, surpassing Celtics’ +65 in 1965. (h/t @SportsVentz & Elias)
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) June 16, 2014
Obviously the playoffs have changed formats several times, and the first round didn’t become best of seven until 2003, but the stat is still wildly impressive. Though the Spurs had the best record in the league this regular season, I don’t think anybody really saw this coming — the Mavericks took them to seven in the first round, but after that the jets just went on. The Finals were like Seattle’s coronation in the Super Bowl, where the blowout was so severe that it almost felt inevitable in retrospect.
San Antonio’s ball movement was beautiful, and whatever adjustments Miami tried to make on defense to plug one hole would spring other leaks. Stop Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili, get shredded by Kawhi Leonard, Boris Diaw, Tony Parker, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter, or Patty Mills. And nobody on the Heat stepped up to provide anything resembling help to LeBron James on offense these past three games, and that’s not something so simple as saying that Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Ray Allen aged — the Spurs did that to them, and the prevailing story should be their tremendous performance, and not the Heat’s failure.