Every man, woman and child—regardless of ethnicity—should watch the Maharishi University commencement speech by @JimCarrey. Truly inspiring.
By Sean A. Malcolm
Going one for two isn’t necessarily a bad thing, right? The last time we looked upon the NBA 2K Gods to predict the L’s Conference Finals, the Miami Heat breezed on by to play for the Chip while newly minted MVP Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder put the San Antonio Spurs in a retirement home. Welp, the former was practically spot on (instead of Miami winning in five games as 2K14 predicted, they dispatched the spectacularly self-destructive Indiana Pacers in a seemingly easy six) while the latter was completely off (the Spurs also needed six games to knock off OKC). With that said, a mulligan is in order here. So, we went back to the next-gen console to have 2K predict this year’s Finals rematch in all its 1080p glory before tonight’s opening series tip-off. Because a video game can’t be completely wrong in guesstimating real life…right?
MIAMI HEAT VS. SAN ANTONIO SPURS
GAME 1—HEAT 104 SPURS 95
Despite Tony Parker dropping 33 points on 10-21 shooting, 17 points from Manu Ginobili and a solid 15 points and 11 rebounds from Tim Duncan, the Spurs’ Big 3 fell to a balanced attack from the Heat’s Big 3. Stealing Game 1 in San Antonio, King James had 23 points and 11 assists along with Chris Bosh’s 19 points and Dewayne Wade’s 17. The difference in this evenly matched Finals kickoff was the bench points. While there were no other Spurs in double digits outside their superstars the Heat received heavy contributions from Ray Allen (17 points on 8-15 shooting) and Norris Cole (13 points).
GAME 2—HEAT 86 SPURS 93
In a defensive battle, the Spurs pulled even with the Heat in an ugly game, shooting-wise. Both teams failed to crack over 40% from the field (Spurs 39%, Heat 40%). Equally horrid was both teams’ three-point percentage with San Antonio going 5-25 from beyond the arc while Miami went an atrocious 1-12. However, unlike the first game, the Spurs bench came alive, outscoring their opponents’ 38 to 19. Tim Duncan led the way with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Lebron James was Miami’s leading scorer with 28 points and 12 boards. Also, as in the first game, no player outside of Miami’s Big 3 scored in double digits.
GAME 3—SPURS 98 HEAT 133
Back in the 305, “The Heattles” put on a performance that would make Pat Riley’s Showtime Lakers of the 80’s proud. The Heat put on a clinic, scoring 60% from the field behind LBJ’s near triple-double of 33 points, 9 boards and 13 dimes. Not far behind was Wade with 29-6-6 and Bosh’s 22 points and 8 rebounds. Not only were shots raining at an abundance, the notoriously stout Spurs defense allowed 76 points in the paint and 18 second chance points, as the Heat’s lead ballooned to 37 at one point. Tony Parker dropped 28 points in the embarrassing defeat.
GAME 4—SPURS 111 HEAT 106
Taking hold of the reins after a defeat that would deflate any teams’ morale, the Spurs stole a game in Miami, tying the series. Despite James’ Herculean 42 points and 17 rebounds it wasn’t enough to hold off San Antonio’s offensive onslaught—bombing a whopping 60% from 3-point land. Five Spurs finished with double digits, with Tiago Splitter…yes, that Tiago Splitter, leading his team with 22 points, absolutely abusing Chris Bosh who dropped a measly 14 points in comparison. Even though, just like in game 2, no Heat player scored in double digits outside their superstars, the disparity in fast break points proved key with the “old and slow” Spurs streaking to 22 fast break points to the Heat’s 10.
GAME 5—HEAT 118 SPURS 111
In the pivotal fifth game, Miami stole another game in Texas in the new Finals 2-2-1-1-1 format, behind 35 points from James, 25 from Wade and three pairs of 13 point performances from Bosh, Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen. Besting their virtually flawless shooting in Game 3, the Heat shot 61% from the field and 64% from beyond the arc. The Spurs just couldn’t match such a showing. Despite killing their opponents on the glass, outrebounding the Heat 48-27—and a throwback stat line from Tim Duncan (30 points, 11 rebounds)—San Antonio couldn’t buy a bucket shooting a paltry 45% from the field.
GAME 6—SPURS 108 HEAT 110
In a classic Game 6 battle, both teams traded jabs, uppercuts and haymakers on the American Airlines Arena floor. With neither team backing down from the other, in an evenly played matchup, both the teams entered the climatic fourth quarter in a tight one with the Heat up 82-79. This is when the one-upmanship between Ginobili and Wade commenced. Trading mid-range, fadeaways and 3-point jumpers as the minutes waned, both Ginobili and Wade dropped 12 and 11 points in the quarter, respectively.
While that storyline was taking place in the first half of the fourth, the remaining time was set for the respective faces of both franchises to leave their mark. Lebron James imposed his will, driving to the basket at all costs, finishing with 34 points while Tim Duncan rained skyhooks and an array of post-up moves on his way to 29 points and 10 boards. Yet, in the final seconds, it was the third member of Miami’s Big 3 that came up clutch.
With under 10 seconds to go, Chris Bosh hit the go ahead bucket. With their final timeout taken, San Antonio put the game in the hands of Tony Parker. Instead of milking the clock and going for the tie, the Frenchman went for the win with a three with four seconds left on the clock, rimming in and out. Still, after two missed free throws from Shane Battier, the Spurs had a chance with 3.2 seconds left. But without a timeout to kill there was no time to set up a proper play. A failed Hail Mary of a shot by Kawhi Leonard closed the lid on the Spurs’ chance at revenge for last year’s Finals loss to Miami. With the 110-108 championship clinching victory, the Miami Heat completed their 3-Peat and Lebron James won yet another Finals MVP with a Jordan-esque stat line averaging 32.5 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists per game. All hail the king, indeed.
MIA defeats SAS 4-2
NBA FINALS MVP: LEBRON JAMES
After a memorable, exciting and controversial 2014 NBA Playoffs, we’ve come to this, the L’s Final Four: Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. It’s safe to say that the remaining four teams were widely considered to be in their respective Conference Finals all along, so in that respect David Stern Adam Silver got his wish. Still, why wait for real life to play itself out? Considering that we live in a sports world where rampant speculation and “expert opinion” is far more entertaining than the actual games, why not add more petrol to the fire by letting “NBA 2K14” simulate who will be battling for the Larry O’Brien trophy in June? Jump ball.
—Sean A. Malcolm
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER VS. SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Despite not having the imposing defensive presence of Serge Ibaka on the floor for the Western Conference Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder handled the ageless San Antonio Spurs pretty easily in a defining five-game series victory. OKC’s Kevin Durant imposed his will—showcasing his MVP prowess—averaging 36.2 points per game, including a dominant 44-11-5 performance in a Game 3 shootout win, 119-108, where both teams shot over 50% from the field (Spurs 57%, Thunder 51%). In defeat, Tony Parker led the Spurs in points (25.4 ppg) and future Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan put up a decent series stat line (19.2 ppg and 9.2 rpg) but in the end it wasn’t enough. The Thunder had too much firepower behind KD and Russell Westbrook, who dropped 25 points per game, en route to the franchise’s second Western Conference championship in three years.
OKC defeats SAS 4-1
GAME 1 THUNDER 116, SPURS 100
GAME 2 THUNDER 84, SPURS 82
GAME 3 SPURS 108, THUNDER 119
GAME 4 SPURS 108, THUNDER 98
GAME 5 THUNDER 111, SPURS 96
MIAMI HEAT VS. INDIANA PACERS
Unlike last year’s thrilling seven-game Eastern Conference Finals classic, the rematch proved anti-climatic as the Miami Heat took out the upstart Indiana Pacers in just five games. The Heat’s Big 3 of Lebron James (24.4 ppg), Dwayne Wade (22 ppg) and Chris Bosh (13.2 ppg), along with a big contribution from Ray “I’m Still Jesus Shuttlesworth” Allen, who clocked 18 points and 26 points off the bench in Games 2 and 3, respectively, led an impressive offensive showing that saw Miami drop over 100-points in all of their games. As for the Pacers, there wasn’t much bite to the number one seed’s bark. Paul George, despite solid performances in the first two games (25-6-5 in Game 1 and 21-8-8 in Game 2), struggled mightily in the next two, shooting a horrific 32% from the field in Game 3 and 4 combined. George didn’t have much help from Lance Stephenson (a paltry 12.4 ppg throughout the series) and Roy Hibbert, who came up small against Miami’s thin frontcourt, averaging a shade over 10 points per game with only 9 boards and a block throughout their five-game defeat against “The Heattles,” Eastern Conference champions for the fourth consecutive year.
MIA defeats IND 4-1
GAME 1 HEAT 112, PACERS 110
GAME 2 HEAT 105, PACERS 108
GAME 3 PACERS 85, HEAT 109
GAME 4 PACERS 92, HEAT 105
GAME 5 HEAT 112, PACERS 107