Miami’s fairy tale saga ends


THE Denver Nuggets winning the National Basketball Association (NBA) crown on Tuesday was widely expected to happen.

Denver’s 94-89 title-clincher Tuesday over the Miami Heat completed a lopsided 4-1 triumph in the best-of-seven showdown totally anticipated by a sellout hometown crowd in Denver’s Ball Arena.

Even before the Finals could begin on June 2, Miami was the giveaway underdog that had only two chances to win: Nil & none.

The Nuggets immediately went to business by scoring an easy 104-93 victory in Game 1.  They dropped a 111-108 decision in Game 2 when the Heat hogtied the entire Denver crew except Nikola Jokic.

But that solitary win came because Erik Spoelstra, our very own Fil-Am who has been coaching the Miami Heat for almost a decade now, was damn lucky to have caught Denver coach Michael Malone flat-footed.

It was a coaching ploy Spoelstra had sprung on Malone—that of allowing Jokic to fire shots virtually unguarded while handcuffing all of Jokic’s teammates.

A star like Jokic can have it all but, alas, Denver’s chief goal of winning the game will still go pfft.  Basketball, like practically all team sports, cannot be won by a single person.

Spoelstra’s gambit on Jokic—an old tactic, actually—can work wonders versus coaches too steeped on methodology and bookish lines.  Like Malone.

But tricks could craft success, usually only once or even twice, but not all of the time.

Miami had actually been on a roll in arranging its date with Denver, scaling mountains in beating top dogs Milwaukee, New York and Boston en route to the Finals.

But like most fairy tales, Miami’s is no exception:  They all come crashing to Earth in no time.

Denver’s 109-94 win in Game 3 signaled reality’s dawning, so that the Nuggets’ 108-95 victory in Game 4 simply set the tone for their 94-89 Game 5 title-clincher.

A bit of endgame suspense in Game 5 dramatized Denver’s 47-year wait for its breakthrough win since its NBA debut in 1976.

After Miami took an 89-88 lead with 1:58 left on Jimmy Butler’s charities, Denver dropped a final 6-0 blast to frustrate the Heat’s ill-fated stab at glory.

Again, fact over fiction in the final reckoning:  Denver was No. 1 in the Western Conference and Miami was a mere No. 8 in the Eastern Conference.  Mismatch.

Truth shines like a lamp hidden underneath a bed:  Denver’s superiority over Miami was as plain as the “rain in Spain” or “it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime.”

In the end, Miami had but a fling with greatness, a joyride worth still remembering.

THAT’S IT By winning the French Open on Sunday with a three-set win over Norway’s Casper Ruud and become the owner of most majors with 23, Novak Djokovic is now the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) in tennis.  Cheers!

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