What’s For Dinner? A 5th NBA Championship

2013 NBA Playoffs
2013 NBA Playoffs
Jun 19 2013 Miami FL USA San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan left and shooting guard Danny Green right talk during practice before game seven of the 2013 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena Derick E Hingle USA TODAY Sports

A crushing loss of the magnitude the San Antonio Spurs had to experience in Game 6 would have sunk other teams. Deflated, dejected, and demoralized, they would find their therapy at the bottom of unanswered questions, sleepless offseasons, and in the worst scenarios, empty glasses of ale. But the Spurs are different; they found their solace at the bottom of their stomachs.

After a brutal defeat, which Manu Ginobili was “devastated” by, the Spurs did something that might help them avoid a disappointing end to the season. They gathered the troops, went to dinner, and shared stories of past heart-wrenching defeats. X’s and O’s usually get things done on the court, but off it, it takes something more heartfelt to power through.

Joined by their families, Spurs players joined in nourishment to get over the haunting memories of a game blown by botched details. Mostly, missed free throws late in-game, uncaptured rebounds, and unforced turnovers. It was either that, or as Tim Duncan put it, “The other option [was] a bunch of us go back to our rooms and sit in our rooms and sit there by ourselves and beat [ourselves] up.” But Popovich would have none of that; he’s made it a tradition to regroup over late-night dinners after soul-reviving victories and soul-sucking defeats just the same.

That time to reflect over their mistakes might be the momentum-changer a team like the Spurs need. After all, no team has won a Game 7 on the road since 1978, and only three have ever sealed the deal in that manner. It might have also been a good time to think about the following three things if they’re still hungry for chip No. 5:

1. Spoelstra Is Playing His Wade Card – Everyone that’s not a Heat fan, or who is blinded by emotions, knows that the Heat are playing better without Wade on the floor. It’s ridiculous to think that Erik Spoelstra doesn’t also know this, but yet he’s decided to trust his hobbled star. If Spoelstra decides to play Wade heavy minutes, maybe 30-plus, the Heat can still win Game 7, but their success rate with drop exponentially. The Spurs might have little response if Spo leans on the headbandless lineup of ‘Bron, Miller, Chalmers, Allen and Andersen. With Wade, the Spurs have a fighting chance.

2. The Spurs Have Played The Better Series – The Spurs are shooting better (if slightly: 46.3% to 46.2%), scoring more, rebounding better, and have outplayed the Heat for most of the six games. They’re getting beat on the assists front, on 3-point percentage, and defensive keys, but, if not for Game 6’s miracle, they would have solidly put this finals in the record books. They have to remember that they’ve been the better team even if by inches.

3. 82.3% Not Much > Than 67.9% – Home teams are 14-for-17 in Game 7’s in the finals. That’s an 82.3% performance rate that would make even Popovich queasy. But Popovich is no regular coach, and the Spurs no regular team. Pop has the third-best regular season winning percentage of any coach, and the 4th-best playoffs winning percentage for any coach with three championships or more.

Other than the Chicago Bulls, the San Antonio Spurs have the best finals win rate of any team, with a dynasty-defining rate of 67.9%. In the Big Three era, the Miami Heat are a far less impressive 52.9% in the finals. So, although history isn’t at all on the Spurs’ side, they should take some comfort from knowing that they’ve been a team that has defied (and defined) past success rates.

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Bogar Alonso
Bogar Alonso is a dedicated student of the hardwood, soccer pitch, boxing ring, and tennis court. He is a regular NBA contributor to XN Sports. His work, involving more than just sports, has appeared on The Creators Project, A&E Networks, XXL Magazine, and others. Follow Bogar on Twitter @blacktiles