Thoughts on the NBA Finals:
- Even when the San Antonio Spurs were up by 20 points last night, I couldn’t relax. I worried that LeBron James and his one-man show would undo all the satisfying, old-school passing, cutting and unselfishness the Spurs had displayed after their miserable first quarter. The Spurs usually play basketball the way I like to see the game played and, by extension, the way I’d like to see the world work. World peace may be next after the Spurs’ 104-87 championship win.
- How delightful to see a 36-year-old point guard with a bald spot on his skull brushing aside Miami defender Ray Allen and slamming down a dunk over the thoroughly annoying 6-foot-11 Chris Bosh. Six-foot-six Manu Ginobili, who followed up that feat with a three-pointer, found a way to inject new life into old legs – old at least by NBA standards.
- The Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, a 22-year-old out of San Diego State who was named the Finals MVP, inspires hope that defense may make a comeback among young players. He also shows that you can play top-notch ball without scowling, whining and complaining. Is DeMarcus Cousins of the Kings taking notes?
- When did Australia’s Aborigines start playing basketball? How did Patty Mills develop that long-range jump shot that put a dagger into the heat of the Miami Heat last night? The 6-foot Mills is the first indigenous Australian to play in the NBA Finals, said a New York Times story Sunday. He played college ball at St. Mary’s College in the Bay Area.
- Mills’ mother is Aboriginal and his father is a Torres Strait Islander. Yvonne Mills is a member of the Stolen Generations, the NYT story said. That term refers to the indigenous children who were removed from their families and placed with white families as part of a government- and church-sanctioned program that began in the late 1800s. It was not outlawed in all states until 1969.
- If Mills is the first Aboriginal player to make it to the NBA Finals, have there been others in the NBA? I found only one in Wikipedia. That would be Nathan Jawai, a 6-foot-10, 280-pound fellow who was drafted 41st in the 2008 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers. He was traded a few times before leaving the NBA in 2010 for European ball.
- What happened to Mario Chalmers, Miami’s excellent point guard, who played so poorly in the Finals he lost his starting spot last night? The 28-year-old Chalmers, who had been a starter for more than two years, shot 5 for 18 in the first four games, with 14 assists and 10 turnovers. He scored eight points and had only one assist last night, while playing 14 minutes – about half his season average.
- Will LeBron James ever deliver on his prediction to bring Miami eight championships? He said that in 2010 when he abandoned the Cleveland Cavaliers to seek glory with Bosh and Dwayne Wade. The three have been to the NBA Finals four consecutive times and won two championships. That’s an impressive accomplishment, but James’ hubris will come back to haunt him.