Lannisters vs. Whitewalkers: NBA Game of Thrones

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You ever played a video game against your friend and it’s a close game all the way to the end but then one mistake gets made and the other person capitalizes and wins the match. What are your first words after that game? It isn’t good game I can tell you that. It normally goes like this, “Fuck..That was some bullshit. You ain’t even that nice fa real. Man run that shit back”. Well Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Gregg Popovich told LeBron and the Heatles, ‘run that shit back’. Starting tonight and hopefully for the next 7 games these two teams will be battling for a place in history, a banner to rise in their stadium and the right to call themselves NBA Champions. Some say San Antonio was robbed by Jesus Shuttlesworth and his game 6 heroics but guess what the series went 7 so San Antonio had another opportunity a few days later to win the title. As Uncle Joey from Full House would say, CUT…IT…OUT.  There is nothing more exciting than a rematch between two very great teams but this has the makings of a classic. This series could have an ESPN 30 for 30 Documentary, a NBA TV documentary, an Outside the Lines special and straight to DVD collection after game 7. This series could be a war that only the strong will win. If I had to compare this series to anything, I would choose something from my favorite show right now, Game of Thrones and call this the Lannisters vs. Whitewalkers.

The NBA Game of Thrones has come down to the Lannisters vs. Whitewalkers. The Heat is the Lannisters simply because they are the current kings of basketball. The Whitewalkers remind me of the Spurs because they are old yet a force to be reckoned and led by a man that has been through every trench in the books and comes out clean every time. If this was back in that time, I can imagine LeBron in a meeting with Pat Lannister (Riley) saying, Your Grace we disposed of all competition in such a wicked fashion time to celebrate with a royal party when Lord Wade and the Bosh Dragon come roaring through the chambers yelling they’re coming…they’re coming. LeBron looks at them and says who Lord Wade and in a somber voice he says ‘the Spurs’.

June 5,2014 marks the beginning of war between these two teams that just had an instant classic the year before. If it wasn’t for Raymie Lannister(Ray Allen) the Spurs slayer, this could be a different article as many assumptions could be made if the Big 3 went to the title 3 times and lost twice. While the Heat have triumphed through small battles including the Starks aka the Pacers because they fell off so hard and quick as one would say, ‘the North was stolen from them’, the Spurs have been tested through the likes of Yunaki aka the Mavericks in 7 games and Lord Stannis aka the Thunder because they are coming for the throne but just can’t get it.  This has already been a postseason for the record books so what would make this even more memorable: The Heat vs Spurs.

The Spurs led by the Fantastic Four of Leonard, Parker, Ginobili and Duncan hope that their team approach will defeat the best player in the world LeBron James. Last year didn’t work out as well as San Antonio dared LeBron to shoot which would have made Skip Bayless happy but one thing happened; LeBron made his jump shots and scored 69 points in Game 6 and 7 of the series.  We all know what’s on the line but let me remind you: LeBron has a chance to three-peat for the first time since Kobe and the Lakers while Duncan is going for his fifth ring since 99. 5 rings would make Duncan arguably the most accomplished player beside Kobe since Michal Jordan decided to leave (Sidebar: in my opinion the NBA logo needs to be changed to Michael Jordan and not Jerry West) Either accomplishment would create a new debate for each player, for example if LeBron 3 peats is he the greatest SF ever or if Duncan wins 5 rings is he the greatest PF ever. These conversations will be held in a few weeks at a cookout filled with food, liquor and the opinions that make First Take look like Fourth Try. Even though some people don’t view the Spurs as a dynasty, this is a chance for both teams to solidify themselves in the conversation of what a dynasty really is.

We all remember the press conference unveiling this new unit in which LeBron said he’s winning not 1…not 2…not 3 and so on well after this year he could possibly say not 2 because he would have 3 now.  I think the key player for the Miami Heat is Dwyane Wade. With all the LeBron James hoopla, Dwyane Wade sometimes gets lost in the mix but If he wins another title then he has 4 and could enter the ranks of Top 5 SG of all time even though some already have him but this ring would only stamp that thought. Dwyane Wade is healthy and has been a contributor throughout the playoffs averaging about 19 points a game. In the Pacers series he averaged 20 points a game and remained a threat with his ability to weave in and out the lane. Sure, Wade has had his knee troubles but right now he has been healed by Mr. Miyuagi and ready for battle. Is Wade as explosive as 2006 of course not but can he be as effective…of course. With a healthy Wade and LeBron there’s no room for as Mark Jackson would say ‘hand down man down’ for the Heatles will make you pay every time.

The key matchup in my opinion for this series is LeBron James vs. Kawhi Leonard. If you are basing purely on skill then LeBron wins hands down but Kawhi Leonard at 22 is an exceptional defender. Who would of thought trading George Hill for the 15th pick in the draft would result in Kawhi Leonard? I wonder if the Pacers are regretting that decision. Kudos to RC Buford, San Antonio Spurs GM for that move. He gave Ellis and Durant fits in the previous rounds and what better way to become a household name than to stifle Akron’s finest. He’s the one player the Spurs have that can contain LeBron but make no mistake no one is stopping LeBron. Since we always like to compare players, will this be the 2014 version of the Jordan Rules (Look up ESPN 30 for 30 Bad Boys if you don’t know what I mean). Leonard main goal is to make LeBron’s day a living hell offensively and defensively. This will be no small task but this is where champions are made. Let’s be real if LeBron goes ham then pass the bread and cheese because Miami will feast on the Spurs.  But we all know Pop will adjust accordingly with defenders on LeBron such as Danny Green and others.

One area that can determine this series is the bench play of both teams. The Spurs have Tiago Splitter, Matt Bonner, Patty Mills, Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw and Marco Bellineli like this team can run 10 deep.  Miami has Norris Cole, Ray Allen, Birdman, Birdman, Birdman you see my point. Last series, Rashard Lewis came back into Orlando Magic form but will be as effective this round. Will we see Michael Beasley, Greg Oden, Udonis Haslem, James Jones or Shane Battier in this series? Clearly, San Antonio has the better bench but when the game is close guess where they will be…the bench.  San Antonio has unprecedented depth with a bunch of players that can shoot like Larry Bird in the 3 point contest and it’s a beautiful thing to watch if you are a basketball purist. This is the classic example of what’s better: an all-around team or a team with superstars. This will not be an easy series for either team as coaching, bench play, rebounding, referees will all play a part in who carrying the throne for another year.

I will be enjoying each game on someone’s couch but my prediction is that Miami Heat will three peat in 7 games and if there is one player who will have a difference in all areas maybe not the stat sheet, I predict that player will be Shane Battier.  I expect a clean fight, I expect for you to obey my rules and commands at all times shake hands and let’s get it on.

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