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Game One: An Excellent Omen


That worked out well, and left me with a lot of confidence for the Spurs' chances to take the series. What I saw:

1. The Heat came out playing blow-you-off-the-court Heat basketball. It yielded a 5-point halftime lead rather than the 20-point lead that would have resulted against an average contender in the regular season. I may be reading too much into his body language, but LeBron did not look well stalking off at the half. I think he can do the math here.

2. The Spurs were tentative. Leonard and Splitter looked like guys who had spent two weeks dreading the prospect of being undressed for four straight games in front of a national TV audience. Now that they both know that's not going to happen, I expect both of them to be even stronger cogs in La Máquina Del Spurs. To his credit, Green had "I got this" written all over him.

3. The Spurs were crossed up on D. I'm confident that Pop and staff will remind the men Sunday that, hey, that old guy that used to play for the Celtics, he can drop a trey or two. That really athletic guy who came straight out of high school? He can drive and finish with his left now.

4. The Spurs did not shoot well. Neither team's percentage was stellar, but the Spurs were rimming out open shots they usually make, while the Heat were taking a substantial number of shots that weren't really their forte. That said, let us all sacrifice another chicken, Cuban cigar, and shot of rum to continue the hex on Shane Battier's touch from the corner.

In short, I saw the Heat play something like their best game, while the Spurs really only brought a solid B performance, and with a little luck they still pulled off the upset. That bodes well, to my point of view.
Still, I have a few worries. The biggest is, of all things, inexperience in game-planning for a team that's just as intellectually sound as you are. The Spurs need to plan to play Game 2 against, not the team they just played, but the team that will adjust to that game and unveil some challenging new wrinkles. The Heat already have a lot of answers. Other than knowing how to properly defend a player somehow maintaining his pivot foot while on the other knee, they were blunting Parker and Duncan just as much as Leonard was limiting LeBron. They will be even better on Sunday. The Spurs must anticipate and outpace that.
This is shaping up to be just as epic as I had hoped. Can't wait.

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