Now, not even the naysayers, assuming there are any left, will argue.
If you don’t have this 2013 NBA Finals in the best-of-all-time category, you don’t appreciate good basketball.
In a series that had everything through five games, it found another gear in Game 6 and gave just a little more.
Tuesday’s game in Miami was over three times before it actually ended. At least it seemed that way.
First it was the Spurs led by their grey beard Tim Duncan jumping out to a 10-point lead after three quarters and seemingly in control with 12 minutes to play.
Then it was LeBron James catching fire in the fourth and living up to all the LeBron hype.
He was scoring, he was blocking Duncan. He was playing the kind of defence his head coach said going into a third quarter that they trailed by 10 would be the only way they would get back in the game.
The Game 7 ledes were already being written.
Then Tony Parker, a guy who had struggled all game long hitting just four of his first 16 shots from the field, suddenly found the range.
A three over James and a two that followed had the Spurs up two with just under a minute to play.
The Spurs would stretch that lead to five with 28 seconds to go.
With a Miami timeout the shoulders were sagging, hope seemed slim.
Then James, after an initial miss on a three, got a second chance and made good to cut the lead to two.
A San Antonio make on one of two free throws extended the lead to three but that only opened the door for Ray Allen who, after another James miss from three, got the ball in the corner and nailed the game-tying three.
After that kind of stunning turnaround, there was no way the overtime could match, but even that came down to a blocked Danny Green three-point attempt by Chris Bosh to force a Game 7 with a 103-100 win.
No matter what happens in that Game 7, no one can deny this Finals as one of the greatest of all time.
MIC NOT FOR MAGIC
It took us six games but we’ve figured out what doesn’t work about ABC’s four-man pre-game and half-time show.
Magic Johnson may be one of the all time greats on the court, but in the studio, or in this case the make-shift studio, he’s barely a bench player. Johnson just doesn’t add much to the conversation. Mike Wilbon has finally taken over the role he should have had from the outset and that’s the Ernie Johnson role where he keeps the conversation moving from one guy to the next. Jalen Rose is outspoken and humourous. Bill Simmons has every stat and every historical look back anyone could ever want. Magic? Magic is the biggest name on the set but offers the least.
Can someone please, please give Jesse Williams a spot in some drama series that will keep him busy enough that we will never, ever again be subjected to whatever that was he was doing throughout these Finals ... As much as these Finals have been a coming out party for Green, a far more sustainable performance going forward is what Kawhi Leonard has been doing. In addition to playing the kind of effective defence that few in the NBA have ever enjoyed against James, Leonard has averaged double digits in points and rebounds, has at least one steal in every game and went into Game 6 with a total of five turnovers for the series despite averaging north of 33 minutes a night ... It was almost comical as Green got set to check in late in the first quarter and a huge cheer went up from the crowd. As the camera’s panned out it became apparent that checking in from the other bench at the same time and the reason for the cheers was Chris (the Birdman) Andersen ... Not only were the Spurs getting superlative defence on James from Leonard, when the sophomore sat down, veteran Boris Diaw came in and more than held his own against the best overall player in the game today ... Were it not for the out-of -nowhere performance by Green, the job Diaw has done at both ends of the floor, particularly in Games 5 and 6, would have to be considered the surprise of the series ... Sideline reporter Doris Burke is no dummy. As the series has gone on her questions for Gregg Popovich, noted hater of the in-game interview, have become more brief and in the case of Game 6 limited to just a single question. That’s veteran savvy right there. Get what you can and get out.