Now that the San Antonio Spurs have handily defeated the Miami Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals, we can safely look back upon all that progressed and find it obvious that the franchise's fifth title was a foregone conclusion. No matter our predictions, they are not so high-profile as to inspire widespread mockery.
The participants in the NBA Finals are not so lucky. Before Game 5, Heat big man Chris Bosh guaranteed that his team would win the game. That didn't happen, obviously, and so in the aftermath of Miami's dismissal from the postseason — and getting dunked on by Manu Ginobili — Bosh was left to eat some crow and praise the Spurs effusively. From his postgame comments to press (via the NBA):
Q: Chris, obviously you were very confident heading into this game with the “we’re going to win comment.” Is it the case that they’re just that good?
Bosh: Yes, they’re that good. You know I thought we’d get over the hump and we never did. They dominated us this series frankly speaking and they deserve everything that they got. So I thought we were going to come with a better game. We got an initial start but we weren’t able to sustain it tonight. You know it goes all the way back to defense. We never really consistently played defense well for this whole series.
Q: You talked about not playing defense the way that you wanted to. You guys were down by 21 going into the fourth quarter. How would you describe the fight level of this team cause it’s not like a team hasn’t come back from a 21-point deficit before?
Bosh: I mean they exposed us, you know. They picked us apart. They made us question what we were doing and we were always behind the whole time. They played faster, they played stronger, they played tougher, and they played like they wanted it more and they played with more pain. We’ve been in that situation before. We understand where they were coming from. Not to that magnitude but you could tell who won and who lost last year.
Q: Did you sense any white flag waving or any relenting?
Bosh: No, they just beat us. Give credit to those guys. They dominated us. They took two games on our home court by 20 points apiece. They beat us by 20 tonight. It hasn’t been much of a series, not even close. It’s kind of an anticlimactic ending for us for the season but you have to tip your hats off to those guys. They played the best basketball I’ve ever seen.
Bosh has gained a deserved reputation as a sincere and honest man, so it's best that we assume he really means these things about the Spurs and isn't just trying to cover for his pregame promise. Rather, it's likely that Bosh was taken aback by just how good the Spurs were and how difficult it was for the Heat to gain the upper hand in the series.
For that matter, his guarantee and his praise aren't necessarily contradictory. Top-level athletes regularly need to think themselves invincible in order to succeed, to the point where many often make absolutely ridiculous claims about their own process to preserve their confidence. Bosh may have had to consider Game 5 a certain win in order to stay competitive in the first place. He looks silly now, but that risk was probably worth it.
Oh, and while saying the Spurs played "the best basketball I've ever seen" might be a bold claim for a 30-year-old with a great deal of experience, I'm sure it all feels that way to him. And would anyone who watched this series care to argue right now?
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