Cumberland Times-News

Mike Burke - Sports

June 15, 2014

Reign of the entire planet is at stake

I’ve given up my LeBron Hate. Don’t misunderstand, I have no LeBron Love or even LeBron Like. It’s more like LeBron Lethargy, although that’s probably too strong of a way to describe my indifference because, while I never root for his teams, it’s impossible to take your eyes off him when he’s playing.



He is the best player in the world (now if I worked for those pompous boobs at ESPN I would have been contractually obligated to say “best player on the planet”, which begs the question as to why ESPN isn’t the planetwide leader in sports?). But I’m not from Ohio so I’m over The Decision, even though it was the single most narcissistic act I’ve ever seen. Don’t you think my hair looks good?



It will be fun to watch tonight’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals because you can’t count out LeBron James and the two-time defending world champion (or is it planet champion?) Miami Heat. The trouble is, Dwayne Wade looks as though he’s on his last legs (probably a mistake to really believe that) and when Chris Bosh doesn’t get enough touches it doesn’t appear there’s anybody else to produce. Ray Allen hasn’t done much, that Birdman thing is disgusting and Mario Chalmers has been dreadful. Heck, this is the reason LeBron produced and starred in The Decision. Even he can’t do it by himself.



And has anybody seen Shane Battier? He’s gotta be in the house somewhere now that flopping has become an issue in these NBA Finals, because nobody can throw a good flop out there the way Battier can. And why is it when Dwayne Wade flops it’s the single most heinous act since the Lindbergh baby, but when Duke flopped its way to a national title in 2001 it was crafty gamesmanship by that wily Coach K? Thank goodness there are only 16 days until Maryland is out of the ACC and away from these miserable people. Oh, and aren’t the good times rolling for you, Carolina?



Anyway, we can poke at the perceived shortcomings of this current Heat team all we want to because ... well, it’s fun. But the story of these finals is, of course, the San Antonio Spurs, who entered the series brimming with confidence
because they know, as does everybody else, they gave away last year’s NBA title to the Heat, who, in fairness, were good enough to take it.



The Spurs are a pure joy to watch play basketball. You say there is no team basketball in the NBA? Watch the Spurs tonight and you’ll see that that’s one of the dumbest statements in the world, right up there with “They don’t play defense in the NBA” and “Ali can’t knock anybody out.” (See the late, great Richard Pryor for the answer to the Ali statement.) The Spurs pass the ball the way the Red Auerbach Celtics did in the ’60s and the way Dr. Jack Ramsey’s Portland Trail Blazers did in 1977. On any given 24-second possession the Spurs will produce eight or nine different touches. Do you know how difficult that is? Do you know how schooled and skilled that is? The answer comes in ridiculously wide-open shots that should never take place in the NBA.



It’s a guarantee that at least 10 Spurs will score tonight, as every player on the roster scored in Game 4. And when every member of a team believes he will be looked upon to contribute, every

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Mike Burke - Sports
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