It was the block heard round the world and by this point it has surely been played on most living room television sets and YouTube channels. I have been a long endorser for the fact that Tiago Splitter just does not look like a basketball player. He looks like that tall gangly kid who belongs in the band playing the baritone saxophone because he is the only one as tall enough to do so. Well, after Sunday night I can't imagine anyone disagreeing with that. After receiving a very nice bounce pass off a screen and roll from Tony Parker, Splitter turned to the hoop and got very wide-eyed. Why did he get wide-eyed you ask? Well it's simple. He saw a lane. A lane like an airstrip leading right to the basket. The only problem with this lane, is that LeBron James was at the end of it....waiting. So as soon as Splitter made his move to the basket, LeBron made his move to deny him and boy was it a much bigger and louder move. He got up there and blocked Splitter worse than Dikembe Mutumbo blocked that child's cereal in the Geico commercial.
Seeing as I am a Spurs fan and want to save myself from seeing the play again I am not going to post it here. That being said though, feel free to look it up yourself. Just go to YouTube and search LeBron James and then YouTube will automatically suggest the next word to be block. That's how bad it is. LeBron has a whole Sportscenter special highlight focusing on his chase down blocks for which he is infamous for. Yet, if you search LeBron James block on YouTube you have to scroll through 16 different videos of him blocking Splitter just to find one video on said chase down blocks.
Please tell me you saw LeBron wearing a LeBron shirt in that interview?
The funniest part about it was the fact that the game was well out of reach at that point anyways and it still generated this much buzz. Imagine if it had actually been at a crucial point in the game, like when Roy Hibbert blocked that terribly selfish player on the Knicks that will never win a ring in his NBA career.
The LeBron block basically summed up the game in a nutshell. The Spurs trying to take a commanding 2-0 lead with three games in San Antonio and all of that rejected by the Heat. For each blow the Spurs dealt out the Heat came right back. Danny Green was so on fire that he may as well have been the Human Torch. The only difference is, he would have gotten a bank loan. That was an Anchorman reference. If you didn't understand it, shame on you. The kid was 5-5 from the triple zone and 6-6 total on the game. Even with that performance though they still couldn't handle the Heat. Insert cliché getting out of the kitchen quote here.
If the Spurs want any shot at winning tonight's game three there are a few things that are going to have to happen. First and foremost the Spurs have got to stop turning the ball over. After having just a measly four turnovers in game one the Spurs amassed four times amount in game two with 16 of them. Another change that must happen comes with Gary Neal. I have always believed Gary Neal to be a poor mans George Hill, but since the playoffs have started he might as well be the change in the couch cushions. During the regular season Neal averaged a healthy 20 minutes a game while shooting a solid 41% from the floor including 36% from the three and all the while averaging just about 10 points a game. It has been a different story since the playoffs have started though. Neal is down in every statistical category. He is only getting about 15 minutes a game while averaging 5 points and shooting a dismal 35% from the floor and a Josh Smith Esq, 27% from three point. Now don't get your panties in a bunch saying stuff like; “You can't compare Gary Neal to Josh Smith! Josh Smith is good.” Shut-up. I know he is good, but he shoots three's like he is J.J. Redick and only makes about 28% of them. Hence, the Josh Smith comparison.
The next thing that needs to take place is probably a little more crucial than Neal and that is the 3 point play from Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili. The two are a combined for 4-16 from three point territory in the series and have been missing shots more open than Manu's bald spot. The only reason I take some of the pressure off Y in this situation is because he has been doled the task of guarding LeBron and has been doing incredible thus far.
How do you change these things? Well to be honest I can't really see Pop changing much as far as Gary Neal is concerned. If anything I see him maybe actually dialing it back a bit and maybe taking less shots than he normally would which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I think that Manu may have an increased role in this game especially seeing as the Heat may put a little extra focus on Danny Green. As far as the turnovers go that is just going to have to be a mental correction and nobody does mental corrections like coach Pop does. I will also be looking for Tiago Splitter (I know I thought we were done with him too) to be MORE aggressive. That's right, more aggressive. I may not enjoy seeing him get rejected at the rim, but I sure as hell love his aggression and I see him coming out extra aggressive to show that the block hasn't rattled him. Then again there is a very good chance it did rattle him. Oddly enough I also see Borris Diaw having an increased role in this game. Diaw is only averaging 10 minutes thus far in the series after getting 17.5 in the previous two so look for him to have a bit of an increased role in this one.
As far as my prediction goes I do not have one. I am not a crystal ball and therefore I have no idea who will win. I also do not want to jinx the Spurs. If I pick them to win and they lose then I jinxed them, but if I pick them to lose and they lose well then I was right and I still jinxed them. It's basically a lose-lose unless they win. HA, get it?
GO SPURS GO!
Also on a side note, Rafael Nadal won his 8th French Open this weekend bringing his Grad Slam total to 12 wins trailing only the great Pete Sampras (14) and some ass-clown that everybody says is the best tennis player ever in Roger Federer (17). Yeah, people are probably right about that best tennis player ever thing, but who cares! Nadal is 27 and after a 7 month lay-off looks poised for greatness. Let's just hope his knees hold up for another 3-4 years.
On another side note; Djokovich sucks.