We are a little over a month away from the start of the regular season, and because the campaign flows into the 2020 calendar year, sports sites are publishing their respective “best of” lists from this past decade, including players, teams, feuds, and finals series. SI’s Michael Shapiro made an earnest attempt to rank the decade’s finals — leading with the assertion that it “has served as the premier stage for basketball talent over the past four decades.”
Briefly, the series that we shall not speak of was ranked #2 due to the exhilarating highs (“Tony Parker wheeled into a one-legged shot in the final seconds to upset the Heat in Miami”) and exasperating lows (“a miracle three from Ray Allen halted the Spurs’ title chase in its tracks“) of the devastating 2013 loss. It is a known fact that Gregg Popovich thought about Game 6 daily well into the next season.
On a much brighter note, the 2014 Spurs “Beautiful Game” domination of Miami ranked sixth on Shapiro’s list.
Consider this the chef’s kiss of Finals performances. One year removed from the most dispiriting Finals defeat of the century, the Spurs absolutely steamrolled Miami in the final three games of a 4–1 series victory, celebrating a championship on their home floor for the first time since 2005. The Spurs shot 46.6% from three in the series. They tallied 127 assists to the Heat’s 76. Boris Diaw led San Antonio in minutes, pinging the ball around the floor between sideline shots of espresso. The 2014 Spurs truly played a beautiful game, outfoxing a Heat dynasty on its last legs.
Other interesting tidbits:
- The four Warriors and Cavaliers series in 2015-2018, save for Cleveland’s comeback from a 3-1 deficit in 2016 occupying the top spot, ranked #7, #8, and #10.
- The Heat’s first championship win over Oklahoma City was only ranked #9. If you recall, the Thunder advanced to the finals after ending the Spurs’ 20 game winning streak in the conference finals, thus denying us a potential back-to-back-to-back Miami/San Antonio series that almost certainly would have made for greater theater than the Golden State/Cleveland foursome.
Where do you think the two titanic Spurs/Heat clashes rank on your list of best finals in the 2010s?