by Mike Seely
There is nothing more annoying in the sport of basketball than when, after sinking a pedestrian 18-foot jumper, Chris Bosh flexes his triceps and opens his mouth wider than any human being has ever opened his mouth before. So agape is his jaw that it begs to have an entire human arm rammed through it, to the point where a fist protrudes from Bosh's rump like the business end of a shart..
Now that the Miami Heat have advanced to the Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, a series which will commence Thursday night in South Beach, DeJuan Blair finally has a role in these playoffs. Or at least his right arm will. Should Blair find himself on the floor at the same time as Bosh--and Gregg Popovich should make sure of it, 'round about the second quarter of Game 1--his substantial meathook is the perfect candidate to entire the Boshtrich's overextended piehole. For if the Spurs are to beat the Heat, it will be through basketball of the smash-mouth variety. And what better way to play smash-mouth basketball than to literally smash a mouth?
The Spurs' coaching staff has had tons of time to dissect the Heat's every tendency. And it's that fact, and not the fatigue factor, which should most concern Miami. No disrespect to Erik Spoelsta, but the NBA should force front-office honcho Pat Riley to helm the Heat, if only to let two of the greatest coaches of all time guide a pair of potential dynasties.
It's amazing how the pundit class has gone from predicting a veritable victory parade through the playoffs for the Heat to leaning toward the Spurs, with some even going so far as to suggest that the Indiana Pacers would have posed a tougher Finals opponent for San Antonio. Likewise America, which suddenly finds itself enamored with the Spurs' cargo shorts and boat shoes brand of basketball. Fact is, those articles of clothing have always been perfectly durable and sensible, two traits which lack palpable sex appeal--unless it's the devil himself who stands in the way.
The Heat, to be sure, are the devil. Their very name evokes Beelzebub's lair, and their fan base might as well have a vacuum cleaner affixed to its collective nose with a BMX course surfaced entirely in cocaine on the other end of the hose. Miami is dirty. Miami is decadent. Miami is The Decision. And it's up to the Spurs to show LeBron James that he made the wrong one.
It won't be easy. Unlike Indiana, which paired David West with Roy Hibbert, the Spurs' second big--whether it's Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw or Matt Bonner--isn't imposing enough offensively to keep the Heat from playing small ball, with the likes of Shane Battier, Ray Allen or Mike Miller nudging LeBron to the four spot. This dynamic would force Tim Duncan to step out on the rangy Bosh, leaving the rim unprotected at times.
Then again, the Heat simply have no answer down low for Duncan, which creates a delicious subplot. Duncan is past his athletic prime, but still dominant when he needs to be. And in order to beat the Heat, he'll need to be for virtually every minute he's on the floor. It's no stretch to surmise that, in order for the Spurs to win, Duncan will need to average roughly 25 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocked shots throughout the series. At his age, common sense would dictate that he can't sustain such success. But common sense loses considerable currency come June, and The Big Fundamental has never ceased to fool Father Time.