Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Tweener: Danny Green, Danny Green, Danny Green, and Nadal (and Danny Green)

On February 26 I wrote an inaugural Tweener column.  Due to our live blogging of Game 2, this week's Tweener is appearing on Wednesday - sorry if you had withdrawal yesterday.

>>>> This is how I felt last night watching Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Check out Tony Parker in that clip. "Oh my god."

You know why?  The big numbers are obvious and have been covered: the record number of 3s in a game - the trio of Neal, Green, and Leonard scoring the same number of points as Wade, Lebron, and Bosh in this series (which is NOT a good thing for Miami) - Tracy McGrady going 0-for-2 yet somehow getting the loudest cheers of the night and registering a solid +10 over his 7 garbage time minutes.

But here are some more numbers from that game:

- Wade somehow led the Heat with 16 points. Lebron and Miller each had 15, Bosh had 12. Cole had 8. Allen had 4. Everyone else had 3, 2, or 0.
- Spurs starters recorded the following +/- totals: +18, + 29 (Leonard), +26, +27, +23 (Green).  Heat starters had: -13, -32 (Lebron), -21, -19, -29 (Wade).  You read that correctly.  Green and Leonard combined for +52, while Lebron and Wad recorded a -61.  That's really an imperfect way to present that...but it still speaks volumes.
- The Spurs recorded an assist on 29 of their 43 made baskets.
- The Spurs had 19 offensive rebounds to Miami's 9, and 52 total to Miami's 36.  The Spurs averaged 8 offensive rebounds a game in the regular season.
- Miami committed 16 turnovers, at least three of which were on passes to players that had the ball went straight out of bounds.

You know what all that says to me? The Heat are tired.  The Indiana series really did take a toll.  Lebron is being guarded by Danny Green in the post and not being convincingly effective.  Wade has little to no lift in his legs.  The Birdman isn't the Birdman.  Chalmers was hot last game, but maybe was tired this game.  San Antonio's offense is a machine, but that doesn't excuse you from having to box out.

I'm sticking with my prediction that the Spurs will win this series, but not necessarily because of the skill level on the Spurs roster.  I think Miami is tired, and Lebron can only do so much to cure what ails his team.

>>>> Having said that, I believe Danny Green made one massive mistake in Game 3.  His final three three pointers were basically perfect.  They went like this:

- The first one he was wide open, gathered, and hit nothing but net to tie the NBA record for 3s in a Finals game.
- The second one was basically from the "S" at the end of the "SPURS" logo in the middle of the court.  Ridiculously deep. Nothing but net.


But no.  Danny Effing Green had to keep going.  Just over a minute later, Green catches a pass in transition on the wing 3 feet behind the three point line.  Lebron stands between Green and the basket about 8 feet away from Green.  Either this was stupid from Lebron, or it was bait.  Green doesn't hesitate to rise and hits nothing but net.

Bad move, Danny Green.  As if this wasn't painful enough, you just stared down the one man who can single-handedly turn a series on its head and eviscerate you.  It was bad.  Lebron was down, and he was going to come out angry next game.  But then you, Danny Green, looked at Lebron and said, "Hey I'm on freaking fire, you're shooting poorly, you're slacking off me, we're up 28...yeah i'm gonna bang this one in your face and then saunter back down the court."

Ruh roh.

(You can watch those three shots starting at the 1:40 mark of this video)

>>>> But this was just vintage San Antonio.

>>>> You thought I wasn't going to mention the French Open?  Or the instant classic Nadal and Djokovic had on Friday (while I was at work...thank you all for the texts and messages about how great of a match it was, I really appreciate it)?  Or the instant clunker Nadal and Ferrer had on Sunday?

Nadal's 8th French Open title makes him the winningest player at a single major in history in all kinds of ways.  59-1 (sorry, I meant to say 59-1!?!?!??!?!?!?!) is the best record by an individual at any major.  8 is the most titles an individual has won at any major.  Nadal also hadn't played for 7 months until about a month ago.  Don't mind him, he'll just show back up and cement his place as the best clay court player in history, while also getting a much needed win over Djokovic.

Look, right now, Federer is the greatest tennis player of all time.  Statistically, he has just had the absolute best career.  But if Federer doesn't win another major (I'm not going to go on about his demise, as the field of players in men's tennis just keeps getting deeper...but he did get plain ol' blasted by Tsonga), and Nadal gets to 15 or 16 while maintaining his 66% win percentage over Federer, then it's at least a debate then right?  I will absolutely accept that Nadal needs to further diversify his portfolio.  Winning 5 more French Opens (completely possible) to tie Federer at 17 doesn't really do it.  But let's say Nadal wins...3 French Opens, Wimbledon, and the US Open.  Then he sits at 17 with 6 of those coming at other majors.  Then I think it's a question.

Plus, he hit this shot.

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