Back Nine: Heat could learn much from champion Spurs
Published: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 16, 2014 at 8:48 p.m.
The Back Nine comes at you after an amazing weekend of boating and swimming and eating and grilling and being a father and a son and knowing that I am blessed to be both.
10. Remember what I wrote last week about how the Heat were just teasing us? Scratch that. Instead, we were fortunate enough to see one of the greatest examples of team basketball with San Antonio drubbing Miami. Did the Spurs remind anyone else of this year's Florida basketball team? Especially with their interior passing? It was truly a pleasure to watch. The Heat? Not so much. This wasn't a LeBron problem. It was everybody else. The Big Three looked a lot more like The Big One during the series. Dwyane Wade simply isn't the player he used to be because of nagging injuries and Chris Bosh was always a tad overrated. Miami needs to look at the San Antonio blueprint in terms of rebuilding a roster and players understanding their roles. And in terms of keeping your best players fresh not only in a game, but during a season.
11. It seems difficult to believe that Tim Duncan is still such a great player and he once played in the O'Connell Center against a Lon Kruger-coached Florida team. Doesn't 1995 seem like a long time ago? I'll never forget two things about that game, which Wake Forest won easily. 1: For some reason, Florida decided it would be a good idea to have fireworks along the foul line that shot in the air when the players were introduced. One of them went sideways and shot across the floor and hit Duncan in the foot. “Dudes tried to kill me,” he told me after the game. 2: You could see in that game that Duncan was going to be an amazing player in the NBA. How is this line — 14 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists, seven blocks? Florida never had a chance.
12. Matt Bonner is not the only player with a Gator connection to win this NBA title, as Spurs general manager R.C. Buford was a restricted earnings coach under Kruger during the magical 1994 Final Four season. Buford left the next year to join the Spurs and probably doesn't get enough credit for putting that roster together. I remember staying up really late one night (insert old man joke here) to watch this kid named Jimmer Fredette play and was blown away by this guy named Kawhi Leonard for San Diego State. And now he's the MVP of the NBA Finals. Who says R.C. and the Back Nine don't have an eye for talent?
13. I'm used to a golfer ruining my Father's Day viewing by blowing away the field and making the U.S. Open unwatchable. But it usually is Tiger Woods. Martin Kaymer won this year's tournament on Friday when he shot his second straight 65. From there, it was just a matter of not getting in his own way. Nobody seemed to even try to chase him down even though the setup Sunday was not particularly difficult by Open standards. They were trying to save the course for this week's Women's Open, which is why I'm not a big fan of having back-to-back majors on the same course. I'm also not a big fan of the way they changed the course to have the native areas instead of rough. I didn't think it was penal enough and that's why we watch the Open, to see train wrecks. I know that's going against the grain because everyone was raving about it, but it looked like the rough at a bad municipal course.
14. It's easy to make a rush of judgment when we've seen a player at his best but there is something about Kaymer, who just a month ago won The Players Championship, that screams that we may be looking at the best player in the world. He has a sweet swing and a perfect temperament. It reminds me that one day at The Players I was discussing the future of golf with another hack and I said, “Well, we know we'll never see another Tiger Woods.” And a British gentleman sitting in the row behind me said, “Tut, tut, you can't say never.” And he was right. You just never know.
15. Monday was a depressing day with the news of the passing of both former UF running back Larry Dupree and former San Diego Padre Tony Gwynn. Dupree was one of my first heroes as a kid growing up in Gainesville. Gwynn might have been the best hitter to play the game. Just a sad, sad day.
16. I watched a decent amount of the World Cup so far in part because the opening ceremony and first game were on where I was watching golf (Pitbull in Capri pants is something that is going to take me awhile to get over) and in part because people were watching it where I was visiting and in part because the golf was so boring Sunday. And I know that the last thing that soccer fans want is a suggestion from a non-soccer fan. But wouldn't the sport be better if there was instant replay to catch floppers and then a fine (as they have in the NBA) for anyone faking it? That's all I have. Now go back to the beautiful game, the one with all of the fake injuries.
17. The Tweet of the Week comes from Florida track and field athlete Cory McGee, who is an interesting follow on Twitter — “You'll never forget the last time you put a Gator uniform on. #lastonebestone.” McGee finished second in the finals of the 1,500 meters at the NCAA Track and Field Championships helping Florida to a fourth-place finish. If you didn't get a chance to watch any of the NCAAs, you missed some incredible athletes. And if you did watch, you're probably wondering if Dedric Dukes can catch a football. That dude can fly. Hats off to Mike Holloway, the most underrated coach at Florida.
18. It was a bad week. I mean a bad week. I got so caught up in our golf tournament for Stop Children's Cancer I didn't do a very good job of working out and I'm feeling it. And I made it worse with a plateful of decadent chicken wings at the Thirsty Turtle in Juno Beach. They are to die for. The gym is calling my name. Of course, it was last week but I ignored it. Anyway, try these downloads — “Just A Boy” by Angus, “Crooked Teeth” by Death Cab For Cutie and for an old-school beauty “With A Girl Like You” by The Troggs.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at email@example.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.