Spurs 92, Heat 88: Derrick Rose can learn from Parker
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org June 6, 2013 10:46PM
San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) shoots against Miami Heat center Joel Anthony (50) during the first half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, June 6, 2013 in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Updated: June 6, 2013 11:55PM
MIAMI — Hopefully Derrick Rose was watching.
If the face of the Bulls organization had a free couple of minutes between taking outside jumpers and slapping bags of ice on that left knee Thursday night, he would have had a chance to peek in on the best point guard in the Association.
Be like Mike?
Baby steps, Derrick. Be like Tony Parker first, and the Bulls will truly have something special.
While Parker remains an afterthought when the debate of “best point guard in the league’’ is made, the 92-88 Game 1 win by the Spurs in the NBA Finals was just another reminder of why Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and yes, Rose, are all second-tier compared to the ex-Mr. Eva Longoria.
“As far as point guard rankings, I don’t really care about that,’’ Parker said after the win. “I just want to win a championship.’’
Make that another one.
And with 10 seconds left on the shot clock, nursing a two-point lead with 18.2 seconds left in the game, Parker showed why he has once again put his team in position to try and add some jewelry to the resume.
Parker had the ball in his hands, staring down the best player on the planet in LeBron James. Six-foot-two, 185 pounds with a French accent facing off against 6-foot-8, 250 pounds, and no sling or stone anywhere in site.
Not a matchup that was unfamiliar to Rose.
It was back in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals that Miami would throw James on Rose late in games to slow him down. Rose wilted. Parker? Well, Miami still wasn’t sure exactly what he did Thursday night.
There was a dribble left, a switch by James and Chris Bosh, then a dribble right, only to hit another James roadblock.
Parker then fell to the ground, kept his dribble, got up, pumped, got James up in the air, and stepped through the eclipse to bank the shot high off the glass.
Four-point lead with five seconds left, onions shown, game over.
“I see him go down,’’ Spurs big man Tim Duncan said. “I think at that point my mind was just blank. I’m just praying he gets the shot off. It was just amazing.’’
Not for everyone.
“That seemed like a 26-second possession,’’ Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Parker wasn’t going to disagree.
“It felt forever, too,’’ Parker said. “It was a crazy play.’’
But not the only play Parker made on the night. A 9-for-18 shooting performance, a game-high 21 points, six assists, and zero turnovers. That’s ze-ro.
And that’s where Parker surpasses the rest of the league’s point guards. He doesn’t flinch. He has made the leap from scorer to cerebral assassin. While the Heat offense looked clunky the last five minutes of the game, San Antonio’s operated like a well-oiled machine, focused on killing the legacy of a King.
The big reason why? Parker.
“He’s special,’’ teammate Manu Ginobili said of Parker.
Hopefully a certain point guard with a bad knee was taking notes.