June 19, 2013

Spurs get the Rangers’ Game 6 treatment

Mark Cuban’s parallels are painful — and kind of right.

This week of all weeks, this month of all months, just what the Texas Rangers didn’t need:

A kick to the junk delivered swiftly by, of all people, Mark Cuban.

Following Tuesday night’s epic Game 6 in the NBA Finals, and having watched the San Antonio Spurs seemingly tank a world championship moment in Miami, Cuban got out in front of everybody with this tweet:

“Hate to say it, but this game felt like the Rangers in the World Series.”

Oh, no. Cuban resurrected that Game 6.

His timing was awful. It was a dreaded Game 6 reminder that came when the Rangers hadn’t won six games in the entire month of June.

A media friend of mine immediately fired back Wednesday at Cuban with, “This was vintage Cubes. His tweet was a not-so-subtle reminder the Mavs WON a title and the Rangers DIDN’T. One of the most passive-aggressive billionaires in the history of professional sports.”

Another shot returned at Cuban came from a media associate who said, “What Cuban doesn’t say is his team also had its Game 6. It was called Game 3 in Miami. And Game 5 in Miami. The year: 2006.”

Personally, I’ve never been opposed to Cuban-bashing, so bring it on, boys.

Got to say, however, watching that Spurs thing in Miami on Tuesday night, I agreed with Marky Mark.

When it was finally over, I thought Game 6. That Game 6. In St. Louis.

As of Friday, of course, the Rangers will again be in St. Louis, opening a weekend series at the scene of certainly one of sports’ most horrific all-time meltdowns, if not the stand-alone, all-time all-time meltdown.

As of Thursday night, with a Game 7 in the NBA Finals, we will know if the Spurs can do what the Rangers couldn’t, and that’s make a quick mental recovery and win the title on the road despite the Game 6 gut punch.

Granted, my sports hate for the Heat is so immense (it goes back to Dwyane Wade and that 2006 Finals with the Mavs) I will be pom-pom waving for the Spurs tonight, same as I was in Game 6.

If, however, the Heat survives, the state of Texas historic jock-kingdom sour moments will definitely include this particular Spurs club, but there’s not any way, is there, it could reach the lowness of the Rangers’ Game 6?

Is there?

The Spurs do have four other world titles.

The Rangers were that close to a first one two years ago. And they were that close twice in Game 6.

Can Nellie Cruz and the fly ball to right ever be overshadowed in this state by anything, outside of Bennie Barnes getting jacked on that call against Lynn Swann?

Did Kawhi Leonard missing a free throw that would have sealed it in regulation rank with the mystery route that Cruz took on that fly ball?

No, not even close.

Did Manu Ginobili’s futile wild charge down the lane late in overtime bring back memories of Nefty Feliz’s ninth-inning meltdown?

No, but maybe.

Yes, Ginobili was fouled on the play, and there was no call. Except in the NBA there’s usually never a whistle when a player charges the lane out of control. Besides, there could have been a traveling whistle on Manu, except traveling is also a far-fetched call in the NBA.

The most interesting comparison of the Game 6s involves the immense postgame criticism raging on Wednesday of a coaching legend like Gregg Popovich. His late-game substitution patterns with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are being hammered.

Again, Pop is a legend. But he’s getting it good, the same as Ron Washington got it, fair and not, for what went on in the final two innings of Game 6 in St. Louis.

If the Spurs don’t win Game 7 Thursday night, it will be one of the few negative smudges on Pop’s overall career portfolio. And it will be a lasting smudge.

Both of these Game 6s were remarkable in entertainment and suspense value, it’s just by my estimation the wrong team won both.

But I’m with Cuban in there being so many similarities between the blown chances two years apart. Mark, of course, has an immense dislike for all things San Antonio. If his critics are right, he slipped in a double-barrel tweet shot at both the Rangers and Spurs.

Cuban has his own issues, still attempting to explain how an owner blows up a world championship club and ends up with spit.

But this week of all weeks, this month of all months, the Rangers certainly didn’t need this particular Game 6 reminder from anybody, and certainly not a local voice like Cuban. Even if he happens to be kind of right.

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