Sunday, June 03, 2007

Cleveland vs. San Antonio: An NBA Finals Breakdown

Saturday night in Quicken Loans Arena, the Cleveland Cavaliers downed the Detroit Pistons 98-82 in Game 6 to advance to their first-ever NBA Finals. The San Antonio Spurs are next for LeBron James and company, with Game 1 at the AT&T Center on Thursday night. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the two finalists.

First Round Victims: The Cavs swept the depleted Washington Wizards, while the Spurs beat the Nuggets in five. Cleveland sports fans can only wish for a playoff victory over a team from Denver. Advantage: San Antonio

Top Tourist Attractions: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honors the best of all time, but the Alamo pays homage to an outmanned group who got slaughtered on their home court. Advantage: Cleveland

Matt Bonner:
The Spurs reserve played college ball at Florida, so he has to feel confident facing an Ohio team in the finals. Advantage: San Antonio

Famous Game 5 Heartbreakers:
No offense to Derek Fisher, but if you’re going to have your heart ripped out at the buzzer, it might as well be by Michael Jordan. Advantage: Cleveland

Reading High School:
Donyell Marshall is the first player from my high school to appear in the NBA Finals. So why not give some dap to the Red Knights? Advantage: Cleveland

The San Antonio Zoo has one of the world’s largest bird collections, while the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has the largest collection of primates of any zoo in the United States. Larry Bird won three NBA titles, but the Phoenix Gorilla has none. Advantage: San Antonio

Super Bowl:
This year’s champ was a Midwestern team led by a guy who does tons of commercials. Advantage: Cleveland

1995 & 1996 ACC Tournaments:
Wake Forest defeated Virginia both years. So in the postseason, Tim Duncan is 2-0 vs. the Cavaliers. Advantage: San Antonio

Unless the Spurs get seriously lucky with triple-word squares, they can’t compete with Anderson Varejao, Aleksandar Pavlovic, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Advantage: Cleveland

The San Antonio Silver Stars have had a losing history, but the Cleveland Rockers folded. In Bruce Pearl fashion, Gregg Popovich sometimes shows up to Silver Stars games in body paint. Advantage: San Antonio

College Hoops:
Texas-San Antonio went 7-22 this season, so Cleveland State’s 10-21 campaign totally put them to shame. Advantage: Cleveland

Coach Brown:
The Spurs are ready for the Cavs’ Mike Brown, since they defeated a coach Brown in their last finals appearance. Coincidentally, Larry Brown accepted a new job and resigned from it while I was typing that sentence. Advantage: San Antonio

Sub-Freezing Temperatures:
Cleveland’s Eric Snow provides defense and veteran leadership. But San Antonio had a Hall of Fame Iceman. Advantage: San Antonio

Signature 2007 Playoff Moments:
What was more thrilling? LeBron’s unbelievable game 5 against Detroit, or Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw leaving the bench area? Advantage: Cleveland

The word on the shirts of many Cavaliers fans. It’s nice to honor a 1985 Best Picture nominee, but Witness lost the Oscar to Out of Africa. Advantage: San Antonio

Tallying up the results, it’s San Antonio 8, Cleveland 7. Looks like a fourth title in nine years for the Spurs.