A camera man captured a quirky moment after the Spurs’ victory over OKC: the often-stoic face of Tim Duncan as he vowed for revenge in the humblest way possible.
“We’re back here now, and we’re excited about it, and we have four more to win. We’ll do it this time around,” Duncan said.
In ensuing encounters with the media, the Spurs would be reminded of the disappointment a year ago and questioned of its presence in the back of their minds.
Each team was going to be pursuing the same goal with victory seemingly just as important for the future endeavors of both sides.
For LeBron James, these finals meant a chance to continue his rise into greatness, a chance to tack on a three-peat to a list of accomplishments in his pursuit of achieving MJ stature in the NBA.
On the line for Miami’s Big Three was an opportunity to continue fulfilling the promise of “not one, not two, not three, not four.”
Tim Duncan was looking for his fifth ring, which would tie him with Kobe Bryant for the most championships of any active players. The Spurs’ Big three was looking to capitalize on a championship window most have been claiming has been closing for years.
If Gregg Popovich’s tenure isn’t enough, a win for Pop would enter him in an exclusive club of five that includes Pat Riley and Phil Jackson as the only coaches with at least five rings. Popovich and the Spurs were able to capitalize on Miami’s weaknesses and shortcomings.
Exposed by the Spurs’ ball movement and depth, the Miami Heat now face big question marks with James, Bosh and Wade all able to opt out of their contracts for next season. A fifth straight finals appearance seems highly unlikely with so many key parts in question. Is Ray Allen even up for another run?
Although Wade was adamant during yesterday’s post game conference that he was fine physically, the current state of his game says differently. Does management even think Wade can bounce back?
With another ring for Duncan and Ginobili, what is left for the two to achieve? Another season against Father Time seems pointless.
The ending to this finals is fitting.
In 2007, the Spurs swept James’ Cleveland Cavaliers. Last year, James finally broke through for most with the type of late-game heroics a lot of people needed to see one more time to appreciate and validate his greatness. In doing so, James handed a crushing defeat to a Spurs team that in the finals seconds of game six seemed destined to lose.
This time around the Spurs got vengeance, reminding James once again that the better team wins.
With all endings come new beginnings and new eras.
Kawhi Leonard will become the new face of the Spurs. His future is promising and much more clearer at the moment than James’ future.
For King James, there is an opportunity to continue what he has started in Miami with more help from perhaps a new member or two to the Big Three. James, though, can leave Miami to bring his talents somewhere else.
As the Spurs’ Big Three acknowledged, this Larry O’Brien Trophy weighs much more.
After heart break and reflection last season, the Spurs’ Big Three now have redemption in its legacy.