“I’m gonna fight ’em off
A seven nation army couldn’t hold me back” – White Stripes (Seven Nation Army)
A seven nation army, you say? How about nine? The defending NBA champion, Miami Heat has used Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes as a theme song for the last few years. Admittedly, they weren’t the first to do it, but they are the most popular. For the second year in a row, we have the Heat playing against the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs have players who were born in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Italy and the United States. The Spurs will be trying to exact revenge against the team that cost them their only NBA Finals series loss in franchise history.
The San Antonio Spurs have been the best team in the league this year. They’ve had the best record in the league even while benching players left and right. While the Heat had an easy path through a weak Eastern Conference, the San Antonio Spurs have had a more difficult path, dealing with the Mavericks, Blazers and Thunder. The Spurs were 6th in points per game and in opponent’s points per game. While they’ve had a perception of being a slow and methodical team (some would say plodding and boring), this year they were top ten in pace. Their leader is Tim Duncan, who essentially plays the same way he did in 1999 when he made his first Finals appearance. Duncan as a public figure is as boring as you would expect from a player who wears a gray uniform every day. However, if he wins in his 6th finals appearance, he’ll have 5 championships, as many rings as Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson.
Of course, the Miami Heat are a worthy opponent. They have the best two-way player in the league in Lebron James. The Heat had an easier schedule, crushing the Bobcats, Nets and Pacers. The Heat are the methodical team that people think the Spurs are, with a pace that ranks 27th in the league. In return for their slow pace, they are the best team in effective field goal percentage in the league. As a matter of fact, the 2013-2014 Miami Heat are statistically the most effect shooting team since the NBA was formed. Much of this comes as a result of having Lebron James as your main scorer, because not only is he a great scorer, but he’s also a great passer who makes his teammates better.
Last year, these two powerhouse franchises met for an NBA finals that went to seven games, including a memorable (some might say tragic) Game 6.
As NBA fans, we should only hope that it happens again.