Spurs' beatdown of Heat was surprising

By Steve Sell
June 16, 2014

Catching up after being on vacation for five days…

• NO ONE SAW THIS COMING — On paper, this was one of the most widely anticipated NBA Finals in recent memory.

Most talking heads, including me, were certain this series would go the seven-game limit and the seventh game might be decided by which team had the ball last.

But this is why games are played on the court and not on paper.

This was a total beatdown. San Antonio dethroned two-time defending champion Miami in five games and the only reason it wasn’t a sweep was that the Spurs let Game 2 get away at the end when it appeared they had it won.

This was as lopsided of a series as I can remember. The Spurs won their four games by margins of 15, 19, 21 and 17. In last night’s game, the Spurs even spotted the Heat 16 points at the outset, but then outscored them by 33 the rest of the way.

This was the classic case of the better team overcoming the best player. There’s no question LeBron James was the best player in the series, but the Spurs had by far the better team. LeBron didn’t have much help, as Dwyane Wade has deteriorated and Chris Bosh was missing in action. You wonder if this was the beginning of the end for the Heat.

The Heat has to find a big man. San Antonio exposed Miami's lack of inside presence time and again, even though Tim Duncan is older than Methuselah. Birdman Anderson is not the answer, but he had to play key minutes because there was simply nobody else. 

Miami has been able to squeeze out two titles from the so-called "Big 3," but I have a feeling the plug is ready to be pulled. Wade simply can't stay healthy and Bosh is content with shooting 3-pointers. The rest of the roster is a compilation of journeymen and veterans that are past their prime. If LeBron decides to take his show elsewhere, the Heat will drift back into anonymity.

• ROYALS ROLLING — I didn't get a chance to watch any of the Royals' last five games because of my vacation, but obviously they're playing their best baseball of the season when it matters most.

The Royals are the latest flavor of the month, having won 12 of their last 16. Hopefully they won't undo all that good work when they start an acid test of a four-game series tonight in Detroit.

I'm sure the Royals would take a split, even 1-3. But an 0-4 disaster would take all the steam out of their recent surge.

The pitching continues to be lights-out and the hitting finally is starting to catch up. The Royals are starting to hit more homers and just hard balls in general. 

I'll be looking forward to seeing if the Royals have the resolve to finally stare the Tigers in the eye. Hopefully they won't slink out of the Motor City with a goose egg.

• YAWNER OF AN OPEN — I also didn't get a chance to watch much of the U.S. Open Golf Tournament, but apparently I didn't miss much.

Martin Kaymer grabbed the tournament by the throat on Thursday and basically choked the life out of the field on Friday with a second straight 65. Basically he just needed to show up the final two days and simply overwhelmed the field with an 8-stroke win.

Kaymer now has won the U.S. Open and The Players in the same year, which should make him the top candidate for Player of the Year no matter what he does the rest of the way.

Golf, though, continues to struggle without Tiger Woods. There's no telling how long it's going to take for him to return to his old form, if he does at all. Phil Mickelson did his best early in the tourney to keep the casual fan's interest, but he scatter-shot the ball all around and faded back to the middle of the pack by Sunday. 

Golf needs the next Tiger to come along to capture the fans' imagination. Right now the tour is just too bland. I thought it might by Rory McIlroy, but he plays a lot like Mickelson in that he makes too many mental mistakes to be consistent.