A lot can change in a week. Just a few days ago, it seemed like Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs should be getting sized for another ring, Tony Parker was healthy and Dwyane Wade was on one leg.
This week, Wade looks like he pulled open his Miami Heat jersey to reveal The Flash logo once again, while Manu Ginobili is contemplating retirement.
“Sometimes I do think about retirement,” Ginobili said Saturday. “But then I say, ‘No, no. I love what I do. I’m very lucky to be in a franchise like this. So I really can’t picture myself being retired already.”
As for Parker? He says his hamstring could burst at anytime — much like the San Antonio Spurs’ chance at defeating the Miami Heat and securing that fifth NBA title.
“If it was the regular season, I would be resting like 10 days,” Parker said. “But now it’s the NBA Finals. If it gets a tear, it’s life.”
The two full days he had off before today’s Game 5 should serve him well.
But will it be enough for the Spurs to pull momentum back to their side?
Who knows? This series has been anything but predictable. Unless, of course, you picked a different team to win each game.
Predicting these back-and-forth Finals has been impossible. Even Parker can’t accurately say how his own teammates are going to play. Before the series he said Ginobili has been “saving his best for the Finals.”
That simply has not happened.
Not even in Games 1 and 3, which the Spurs both won, has Manu been Manu.
Ginobili is averaging 7.5 points a game in the series, while shooting just 34.5 percent from the field and less than 20 percent from behind the 3-point line.
The Spurs forward is in the final season of a three-year, $39 million contract. He will turn 36 at the end of July, and the accumulation of injuries he’s dealt with this season has taken its toll.
However, he claims to be healthy, which has made his problems against the Heat perplexing.
Asked to explain Ginobili’s disturbing and ongoing fade from postseason relevance, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, “If I knew that, I would have already fixed it.”
Popovich better have figured it out in the last two days.
Because whatever was ailing Wade did not seem to bother him in Game 4.
Few great games have shocked more than Wade’s performance Thursday. The Heat guard scored 32 points and had six steals, six rebounds and four assists in Miami’s 109-93 win.
As so many have chronicled, Wade hasn’t really been himself since about the midway point of the Heat’s 33-game winning streak and he has not been on par with even Mike Miller since he banged his knee up further against the Boston Celtics.
Now, he is Flash 2.0. He has left behind his alter ego of Barry Allen — the post 1950s Flash — and become Wally West (the Flash who took over in the mid-1980s, for those who are a little less dorky than myself).
Or maybe he did that just for last week. Whatever the case, it worked and the Heat won Game 4 in stunning and rather dominant fashion.
When Wade and LeBron James play like they did Thursday — combining for 65 points — they are unbeatable.
It does not matter what the Spurs try to do; they won’t beat the Heat that way. But, of course, that was so long ago. Today, the week starts anew and anything can happen and in these Finals, nothing is sustainable. No two games have even been similar, much less alike.
A week from now, the Spurs could be making parade plans. Or LeBron could be celebrating the second for his seven NBA titles that he promised three years ago after he made “The Decision.”
Next week, only one thing is certain — there will be an NBA champion.
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569