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No More NBA - Are You Ready For Some Futbol And Football?

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Clear the decks for futbol and football.

The NHL season ended early Saturday morning (or late Friday night in L.A.).

The US Open concluded Sunday, won by a German.

The Red Sox sit nine games out of first place with 84 left to play. They will continue to search for offense and, at best, offer the masses of Red Sox Nation the hope of the second wildcard until further notice, or offer official capitulation at the trade deadline.

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So it's Brady and Gisele sightings, Legion of Belichick talk, and Gronk and Edelman social media posts and videos until further notice.

And Team USA begins its World Cup play Monday at 6 p.m.

The NBA Finals ended about five games too late for the Heat Sunday, as the Spurs won their fifth title in 15 seasons with a 104-87 rout of Miami.

Here are six takeaways in honor of San Antonio's five titles.

Coulda, Shoulda. Woulda: Tim Duncan was a consensus No. 1 pick coming out of Wake Forest in 1997. The Celtics' long run of bad luck in the NBA Draft Lottery began than year. The Celtics had a 36 percent chance of winning the draft lottery but the Spurs claimed the lucky ball and Duncan. The Celtics slid to No. 3 and got Chauncey Billups, who has not won five championships (though he did win one with Detroit in 2004, being named Finals MVP, and lost the championship to Duncan's Spurs the following year). Duncan was the younger of the two "Twin Towers" - David Robinson being the other - who won San Antonio's first title in 1999. In 2000, he almost became a member of the Orlando Magic. The grand plan of the Magic was to team up Duncan with Grant Hill, acquiring both via free-agency. Duncan and his wife visited Orlando and she infamously said she didn't like the city. That was that. The Magic landed Tracy McGrady as their second option, who has also not won five championships.

By the way, Duncan has the cutest kids in the NBA.

Build Through The Draft: Danny Ainge, here's some hope for you. Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker don't carry the flash and pizzazz of other "Big Threes." But this Big Three came together through the draft. Duncan was taken with the No. 1 pick in 1997, as we know. Ginobili was drafted No. 57 overall in 1999 but didn't sign with the Spurs until 2002. Parker was drafted with the No. 28 pick in 2001 after playing two years in France.

More hope for Danny. NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard was taken 15th overall in the 2011 draft by the Indiana Pacers before he was dealt to the Spurs in a multi-player deal for George Hill. So you don't need the No. 1 pick to to land a Finals MVP after all (for that matter, again, see Chauncey Billups).

Their Three Is Bigger: Popovich doesn't like to call his Big Three a "Big Three." But that won't stop the rest of us. The Spurs Big Three are the biggest big three in the NBA these days. They have combined for more postseason victories than any NBA trio in history (thanks in part to the expanded playoff format). They're the Biggest Big Three of note since Boston's Biggest Three of Bill Russell, Sam Jones, and K.C. Jones won eight titles playing together. All three have taken less at times to stay in San Antonio and remain together. That uncommon stance has allowed them to create an uncommon record of greatness.

This One's For Pop: It's appropriate that the Spurs won this thing on Father's Day, given their coach's well-earned moniker. Gregg Popovich has won five titles over a 15-year span with the same player at the center of his universe, Duncan. The longevity in a league so much in the moment is notable. Phil Jackson's term with the Lakers was similar in its dominance, as he won six titles from 2000-10. That's how Popovich should be viewed by those who so slobber over whatever it is that Jackson plans to do next. While Jackson won his titles going all triangle and zen (along with Michael Jordan, Kobe, and Shaq), Popovich prefers going Old Testament. Sunday night, the Miami Heat starters not named LeBron James combined for 32 points. Miami shot just 40 percent from the floor and failed on 18 of the 25 three-pointers it attempted. That's old-school defense at its finest.

LeBron Doesn't Suck: Sure, he's no Jordan. He's no Bird. He's not even a Kareem. But he gave the Heat 31-10-5 Sunday and only committed one turnover in 41 minutes. LeBron is mocked because he talked about winning not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven ... titles.

Nothing wrong with a little self-confidence. Nothing wrong with poking a little fun at it, either.

But King James will not get his third crown without some help. Someone like Rajon Rondo may have swung this in the Heat's favor. Miami was without a bonafide, effective point guard in this series.

In the post-game presser, LeBron and Dwyane Wade, who appeared much older than his 32 years, took the podium. Wade barely spoke after the game. He didn't do much during the game, as well. He had the same number of assists on Sunday than Yoenis Cespedes had each on Tuesday and Wednesday. He missed eight of his 12 shots and the Heat were minus-10 when he was on the floor. LeBron remains the best player of his generation, he's just not good enough to carry the team on his own to a championship.

That sounds like a certain quarterback we know who recently learned he is no longer considered elite.

Being a Dynasty Is Exhausting: Celtics fans wish Boston had this problem again. The Heat have played a total of 399 games since the start of the 2010 season. They've gone to the Finals four straight times. Not only did the team break down physically in this series, it will be nearly impossible for the Heat to stay together in their current form given the salary cap-issues Miami faces. The last team to make it to the NBA Finals four straight years were your Boston Celtics from 1984-87. Those Celtics eventually fell apart physically as the franchise suffered a catastrophic and tragic loss with the death of Len Bias. The Heat's atrophy in this series came about due to their age, injury, and woeful contributions from players not named LeBron James.

The Celtics can take solace in the fact that they remain the last team in the Eastern Conference to beat the Heat in a playoff series. Nine of the past 10 NBA titles were won by teams from Florida, Texas, or California. Those are three of the nation's four-most populous states, which has to make the NBA folks happy. (Florida and New York are in a virtual census tie for third.)

The lone outlier on that list are, drum roll please, the 2008 Celtics.

It always comes back to the Celtics.


The OBF column is written by award-winning journalist and Bay State native Bill Speros. Hit him up on his Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or at his
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