Heat Check – The End

As it began – on a national platform (albeit a smaller one this time…) – it ends as LeBron James went on SI.com and announced he was going to be returning to Cleveland. 

He says, in the article, that there was nowhere other than Cleveland or Miami where he would play and after a lot of time to think about his family and what is best for them.  The decision this time is obviously about coming home – and winning a championship that means so much more than almost any other. 

However…and it is a big however, he is leaving a team that made the finals 4 straight years to go to one that certainly is not ready at all.  He is sacrificing his chance to win now for a chance to win in the future (if Wiggins / Bennett etc can come along) and playing with a team where the players can actually get better and not simply decline.  Not many players (exception alert: Kobe!) give up sure things.  LeBron wants to win but he is missing an opportunity now.  Who else is going to move with Bron?  Does Bosh go and join him?  Or possibly Kevin Love?  If LeBron wants to win now would Cleveland be willing to sacrifice Wiggins?  Simply incredible. 

So what happens now? 

Bosh likely goes to Cleveland or Houston, Kevin Love may be on the table now, Melo probably goes to Chicago for a chance to win a title next year and Cleveland becomes the place to go for free agents.  Simply astounding. 

Miami and DWade now have the worst possible scenario: this is the end for them.  They are shackled to Wade – who literally did everything he could to try and get LeBron to sign there (even going to Vegas and then his flight to Miami) – and have to give him a deal because he knows where the bodies are buried.  This is probably the end for Wade and there is no way he can possibly carry a team any more at this stage of his career.  Get ready for iso Wade Miami fans as well as a horrific max deal that will give them no flexibility (and keeping Haslem around).  Yikes the future is not bright.

Suddenly Bron opting out was not a sign that the Heat were committed to keeping it all together, but rather the beginning of the end.  Amazing – Bosh does not sign there for any amount of money.  A new day for the NBA and a new favorite may emerge.  How many titles will Durant win or Rose in the interim?  Could the Clippers steal one? 

Once again LeBron has dramatically changed the NBA with his free agency – something Jordan and Kobe can not claim.

 

Heat Check – Free Agency Gambling

Welcome once again to free agency gambling!  So many questions have come up: where will Melo sign?; is Melo going to leave crazy money on the table?; is Bosh willing to leave money on the table when there is no way he should?; what in the world is going to happen with D Wade?; and, of course, WWLD Part II?

The insanity has begun and there are huge prizes out there to win – Melo, Bosh and of course LeBron – and there are some players who are going to hold a salary cap hostage much like Kobe has done to the Lakers (cough, Wade, cough). 

Here is what we know so far, LeBron opted out, forcing the rest of the Big Three’s hands and then, when they were all set to make some big sacrifices, LeBron seems to have decided that the other guys were going to sacrifice while he takes the max.  Here is how he sold it to them, “okay, I will take the max, you guys sign for ten mill a year and we will sign Kyle Lowry or Melo for ten mill a year.  Deal?  Sound good?” 

Except there was no chance Lowry was taking that kind of deal, there is no way Bosh deserves to take that kind of deal and there is no way Wade is leaving that much money on the table (and is not signing with Miami as he literally knows where the bodies are buried).  Meanwhile, the Bulls are quietly building a team to win titles (how much more incredible would they be with LeBron?) with Melo, while Houston is suddenly the best place for Chris Bosh to go and have a legitimate chance to win more titles.  Not to mention the fact that Chris Bosh is one of the best players in the league who rightfully deserves to get max money and be properly appreciated. 

The pieces remain in play because until LeBron signs no one else will.  The reason, obviously, because as long as there is a chance to get him, no one will sign anyone else.  Could we potentially see a LeBron / Melo partnership?  Would Cleveland be the place that happens?  Somehow it seems highly improbable that Ms. Melo would want to move there after loving New York, and given how much of a mess the Cavs are, they may not even give LeBron a chance to win titles. 

What happens to the Heat if Bron returns to Cleveland?  They sign Wade to a max deal, shackling themselves to mediocrity for some time going forward, Bosh goes to Houston and probably has a shot at winning more titles than LeBron or Wade. 

Or…

Wade, Bosh and LeBron sign in Miami and in the magically best case scenario manage to convince 2008 Pau Gasol to sign with them for no money.  In that scenario Melo goes to Chicago and suddenly we have a real rivalry in the East (to the devastation of Pacer fans) while the West continues to batter each other. 

The final thing to think about it: LeBron’s legacy depends solely on winning championships at this point, does it really matter where he does that?  What does a third title in say, Cleveland or Phoenix mean versus a third in Miami?  Who will sign where and is this the end of the big three era in Miami and the rise of it in Chicago? 

The Association – Miami Heat Edition

In my two plus years of being a Miami Heat fan I have never once turned off a game before the conclusion.  Miami has shown strong resilience and has often come back from deep down because of their supernatural ability to score points like few other teams in history.

Then there are the nights where nothing will go down and the team throws in the towel early in the fourth and allows the bench to get some court time (Hello again, Eddy Curry!) – but this was something altogether different.  I physically could not make myself finish the Heat – Clippers game from the other night.  It was more than simple disappointment at the predictable outcome, the Clips came in with something big to prove and shot the lights out, it was downright painful to watch Miami try to fight back into the game again and again only to see yet another three pointer (or deep two) improbably go in.  The whole thing was back breaker after back breaker and right around the time that Blake Griffin hit one of his five minute jumpers from about eighteen feet I started to get the feeling:

This is awful – there is simply nothing Miami can do to get back into the game.  The Clippers are just feeling it tonight and nothing is going to stop them. 

While this thought was still rattling around in my head (and ESPN has Lisa Salters chatting away with a clearly disinterested Grant Hill) Chris Paul, with complete confidence, nailed a thirty foot three like it was an everyday occurence.  As I was trying to process the ridiculousness of this shot, the Heat turned the ball over and Paul strolled down the court and absolutely destroyed Miami with another three.  The second he stepped up I had no doubt it was going in.  Every shot they were taking was going in, and this would be no different.  Paul’s confidence was so evident it was beyond clear the game was over.  Miami had no chance.

For the next two or three minutes it was like being in a complete state of shock.  I drifted in and out of the game and then finally picked up the remote and decided I had seen enough.  Why should I put myself through the agony?  I know teams get up to play Miami, to prove they can beat them but this was something else.  This was pure and unadulterated torment.  Miami has been awful defending the three this season, partly because it seems like they are content to coast through the regular season and turn it on when it counts most.  When they need to win a game, or a series, they have the best player in the world – a man who can singlehandedly win games or series.  The most recent instance being the other night against Houston when LeBron put up 32 points in the second half to carry the team to Victory.  To be clear: the Heat are not worried.

Maybe they are right, maybe they should not be worried.  Winning a title last year gives them a certain amount of leeway because they have proved they can get it done when they need to.  The Heat are the team whom no one wants to face in a seven game series.

The game against the Clips was hard to stomach though – it was like watching someone take punch after punch in a fight that had to go the distance.  Even though the Heat were staggered and bloody and taking it from all sides they had to keep going, there would be no mercy for them.

The Heat soldier on to Phoenix on the final stop of their West Coast swing, and it should be an easier game for them – hopefully if LBJ (sick) and Wade (hurt) play.  However, all in all:

We are not, and should not be worried about the Miami Heat. 

LeBron and the Heat – Shades of the ’86 Celtics

LeBron and the Miami Heat are currently playing at a ridiculous level – they are 4-1 in the early going of this season and show no signs of slowing up.  The only loss the Heat have suffered this season came at the hands of a ridiculous, post-Sandy shooting storm by the New York Knicks (will not happen again).

Against Atlanta, and playing without DWade, the Heat got down early and then proceeded to absolutely toy with the Hawks.  At one point, LeBron stole the ball and sprinted down the court.  He looked back and saw Hawks PG Jeff Teague catching up so he slowed down just long enough to make contact with Teague in order to draw a foul alongside his eeasy dunk.  Who else is smart enough to make that play: maybe Jordan at his peak, and maybe Bird or Magic but no one else.  Later on, James shot a three from maybe thirty-five feet for seemingly no reason; shades of course, of Larry Bird deciding to shoot all his shots with his left hand for an entire game.

The Heat are firing on all cylinders and it is already evident this is the deepest team of their three year run with the Big Three.  During the off season the team added Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, both of whom have seamlessly integrated with the team and are both having great seasons – particularly Lewis who is shooting over 50% and 47% from three point land.

Another reason the Heat are better this season is, as Rat Riley speculated, the pressure is off.  The team can simply play and win.  They are moving the ball frighteningly well and there is little doubt LeBron is the best player in the league and can do virtually whatever he wants.

The Heat are a special team this season, like the ’86 Celts were.  They are built around an apex superstar (Bron / Bird), two all-stars (Wade and Bosh / McHale and Parrish) and include a variety of lovable characters off the bench.  Could the 2012/2013 Heat end up as one of the best teams ever, as the ’86 Celtics did?

Regardless of how they are viewed historically, fans should enjoy this team while we can – how often do you get a chance to see one of the greatest players ever at his absolute peak?  For years we have wondered how high LeBron’s ceiling could be and now that it appears to be here, all we can do is stare in absolute wonder.

Miami Thrice Title Quest Diary – The Aftermath

Tonight was one of the best Sports nights of my life: tonight, the Miami Heat got their Championship rings.

Usually these ceremonies simply involve an eff you to a vicious rival team of the Champs -like the Heat were forced to become last year when the Dallas Mavericks made them sit through a trophy presentation.

This year though, I had no problem with the Celts sitting through the whole thing as I hate them so it was all good.  Seeing Bosh, Wade and LeBron get their rings and grin like kids with a new toy was fantastic.  However,  the best part was seeing them get right back to the business of repeating and playing with fire and crazy intensity (keeping in mind the Celtics have been constructed this season solely for the purpose of beating Miami.  There is no question they will be beaten by someone like Indiana because they focused too much on the Heat).

How can you not like to see Ray Allen stick it to his old team (he is a guy I actually like, mostly for his tenacious D) was incredible.  Midway through the first quarter after Rashard Lewis hit a deep three I had the thought: Man, I really love this year’s Heat.  They are deeper (adding more shooting / scoring) and more primed for a Championship run (they know what it takes) than ever before.

Then there is LeBron who is  playing at a ridiculously high level and who last night, in slightly more than a half had 26 points and 10 rebounds.  We need to frequently remind ourselves we are watching the most dominant player in the last twenty years.  Twenty years ago, Jordan had a mega-apex after the Olympics and 1992 Finals and now LeBron too, is enjoying the same feeling, for the next generation this is almost a surreal experience.  They struggle to understand how good LeBron is – for kids these days, he is without doubt the best player any of them will ever see.  So, it was another great night for LBJ and other than the cramps he was virtually unstoppable: my favorite moment from last night was when LeBron handed the ball to Bosh, disappeared off screen and then reappeared on the end of a ridiculous alley-oop from Bosh.  At first I thought Bosh might have been simply throwing the ball up and then LBJ swooped into frame for the dunk.

The one sticking point for the team – Wade who seems hell bent on reasserting himself into “alpha dog” status (both through strange haircut and bad shots).  At one point, LeBron threw a  tricky spin bounce pass to Bosh that Wade stole from him and then turned over.  He just tried to do too much and seems desperate to prove his importance.  A development to watch over the course of the season (yes, I cannot stop myself from nit picking with this team, I love them too much).

This moment was a special one: to see that banner CHAMPIONS! raised to the rafters.  When I signed on to support the Heat two years ago, this is what I could not wait to see.  The moment felt good – great even – but the problem is one I believe will plague Miami all season: wanting more.  Titles are like a drug you just want to keep chasing, once you have gotten a taste nothing else is ever as good.  That is why KG plays every single game like his life is on the line, or why Jordan could never fully let go, or why Duncan conserves himself for the right moments time and again.  That is why LeBron is going to be putting on the greatest display we have seen in recent memory, and we are all the better for it.

Currently, I have been re-reading Bill Simmons Red Sox Opus Now I Can Die in Peace (tough to get through one time as a Yankees fan, but twice?  As a Vancouver Canucks fan I can sympathize) and more than ever I understand the book on a different level.  Imagine if LeBron and Miami did not win last year, the chaos and scrutiny that team would be facing.  Bosh and Spolestra would be gone for sure and likely others.  There would be no way Ray Allen would be there, and no way the Celtics would have re-tooled like they did.  Watching LeBron and co. take a ring was incredible, unbelievable and wholly an unnerving experience – I was actually watching through my fingers for most of the 2012 Playoffs.  A title just means so much, especially for a guy whose hockey team has now lost two brutal game sevens seventeen years apart.  Will I see them win a title in my lifetime?  Will I love them any less if they do not win? (The answer to both questions is “Of Course”).

A banner in Miami means so much to LeBron’s legacy because now we can begin to appreciate him as a great player.  As he once said, now we can enjoy his greatness without the endless questions of whether or not he can get it done when it counts the most, because as the banner they raised the other night proclaims: yes, without a doubt, he can.

Miami Thrice Title Quest Diary – The Decision…again

The Decision: As the NBA season draws nearer, this Miami fan felt it was time for (yet another) look at the controversial “decision” which brought together the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat.  Maybe you agree and most likely you do not, but please enjoy yet another look at one of the defining moments in NBA history.

In hindsight and over time The Decision will ultimately be viewed with more detached humor than it is now.  A couple of things to get out of the way first off:

1)      It was monumentally stupid to put the biggest free agency moment, well, ever on national television – Or was it?  This may turn out to be one of those sneaky intelligent decisions that end up making putting a network farther ahead of their competition.  ESPN took a calculated risk involving one of the most popular athletes of all time, most likely figuring there was no chance at all he was going anywhere but Cleveland.  Who would possibly have the balls to go on television and destroy his hometown team?  I believe ESPN had no idea what LeBron was going to do, and had they any inclination they would have hyped the show even more.  Again the whole thing was a monumentally fucking stupid idea.

2)      Not even charitable donations could save this thing – Whether or not you genuinely believe LeBron thought the charitable aspects of the show would save his legacy (he probably realized pretty quickly that they did not) the show was still a bad idea of ridiculous proportions.

Many people have speculated about the show, and LeBron’s honesty through the whole process.  Whether or not Mavrick Carter talked LeBron into the whole thing is ultimately irrelevant.  We have to deal with “The Decision” because it happened and in writing this book it is impossible to ignore the ramifications.  This was one of the biggest and most significant moments in the history of the NBA and glossing over the ugliness is impossible.

Are the conspiracy theorists right?  LeBron claims he woke up that very morning not entirely sure what he was going to do.  Again, we can either view this as truth or as a fiction meant to protect and slightly repair his shattered image.  The other opinion is much more devious and somewhat sinister: Dwyane Wade, James and Chris Bosh colluded during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, deciding to team up in Miami in 2010.

To buy this theory you have to believe that all three players only signed three year deals intending to go to Miami upon their competition.  Why you may ask, would they not simply go to Miami immediately?  All three were under contract at the time.  Of course this also requires the believer to imagine the absolute worst of Dwyane Wade.  Is he the kind of guy who would go into Free Agent meetings with teams like Chicago, Cleveland and New York in order to get information for mastermind Pat Reilly to use in his meetings with LeBron and Bosh?

It is sort of hard to believe the three players would collude so blatantly unless you believe Wade to be a villain of the magnitude of Keyzer Soze.  Then the three players had to stick to the plan and not change their mind due to sentimentality or a better offer elsewhere – because, remember they each could have made more money by going elsewhere, or staying where they were.  Honestly, if you were told the only guy who would come away with a max contract in the Summer of 2010 would be Joe Johnson I am pretty sure you would laugh hysterically and struggle to stop for some time.  This is exactly what happened and this alone raises additional suspicion.

LeBron’s mysterious performance against the Celtics in the 2010 Playoffs also bears further examination.  The team was on their way to the Conference Finals when they suddenly fell apart spectacularly.  One player who was truly awful?  Delonte West: which of course led to the rumors (potentially started by Mavrick Carter on Wade’s orders???) he had slept with LeBron James mother, the entire team knew and LBJ found out during the series.  Why this would come out at the most important part of the season is beyond me, but there you go.  If it happens to be true though, holy shit – and for some reason it is borderline believable due to the fact that Delonte West is completely insane.  How insane?  He was arrested during this same season for having a guitar case full of handguns, a shotgun, a crossbow, and possibly three dead Thai hookers? (I made one of those things up…I think?)

So the chances LeBron, Bosh and Wade colluded to join a team together and managed to follow through on this aforementioned collusion seems very, very unlikely.  NBA players struggle to hold themselves together day to day and are not well known for sticking with any kind of plan (ahem, Dwight Howard), can you possibly imagine them being able to plan for three years in advance?

Not a chance – none at all.

Thus, despite the sheer ridiculous delivery system of “The Decision” we cannot lose sight of the fact this was LeBron’s decision and he had the right to make it.  The man was a free agent and, as such, had the right to any choice he so desired.  Instead of sticking with the team that had him on the path to immortality, LeBron decided to try and genuinely build something with two friends of his…in Miami…

So there seems to be a possibility that Miami might be slightly better than Cleveland from what I understand.  Is it possible that the best basketball player in the world simply wanted to go to a much better place to live?  Keep in mind and do not lose sight of the fact he is not yet twenty-eight years old – no disrespect to the people or city of Cleveland, but where would you rather be if you had hundreds of millions of dollars?  Does this not seem like a much more logical idea for why LeBron chose to go to Miami?

When the choice was made and he moved to Miami, LeBron was clear about one thing: he wanted to win.  Everything was going to be about securing the ultimate prize.  Suddenly it seemed as if everything had changed in the world of selfish NBA players and everyone wanted to join a “super team”.  It became the thing to try and do for quite some time in NBA Superstar circles.  After Amare Stoudemire signed with the Knicks, Carmelo instantly began discussing joining the Knicks with Chris Paul in order to create a Superteam of their own.  Dwight Howard transformed himself from fun loving, Shaun Kemp-esque, lovable Shaq wannabe into the most despicable man in the NBA attempting to get from Orlando to Brooklyn or LA.

Yet at the end of the day it was all about winning, as if this current generation of players suddenly realized winning the title was more important that their individual stats or awards.  There was a small gap of time where the hyper competitive generation (think Kobe, Garnett and Duncan) gave way to Generation Next (Bron, Wade, Melo, Paul) who suddenly seemed at risk of going titleless.  For some reason, none of them (with the exception of Wade…and Darko) were able to break through and win the elusive ring.  LeBron had a shot, Howard had a shot as well, but Chris Paul or Melo simply have not.

They had come up in a different NBA era, one where all the players were friends not enemies going all the way back to the AAU circuit.  It was becoming a major new world and for the first time in a long time, the league took a genuine evolutionary step forward.  Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen.

However you view the Decision it needs to be understood as a milestone moment that changed and shaped the NBA going forward.  No one had a chance to win it seemed, without a cast of characters straight out of a made up video game lineup.  Even Kobe has moved to creating a “Super Team” by first attempting to add Chris Paul and then successfully adding Dwight Howard to the Lakers.  Then of course there is the earlier Big Three precedent set by the Celtics in their 2008 Title year, which seems to receive less and less attention as the hatred towards newer teams with superstars – Miami, LA – grows.

LeBron’s choice had a dramatic influence on the next generation (KD, Westbrook, Rose) for whom winning is seemingly everything and who found themselves on teams tailor made for contending.  There is little question that OKC and Chicago will eventually get their chances at the title and may even win one or two.  After all, it was inconceivable that LeBron or Bosh would ever go throughout their entire careers – playing together – without winning a Championship.  It is just as inconceivable that players of Rose or Durant’s capabilities will go without a ring as well.  Time will tell for them, but again, they found themselves on contenders built through the draft and smart acquisitions.  LeBron never had that chance as he had to carry the load, again and again.  Cleveland tried to put players around him, but perhaps he needed that change of scenary.  Needed to play outside Ohio and experience the world in a fresh and exciting way.

The Decision changed the NBA and it radically changed LeBron’s life in many different ways.  Going forward, his free agent move irreconcilably impacts the future of the league.  In a sick, and possibly perverse way, we should celebrate what he has done while continuing to condemn the delivery system.  If Kobe wins another ring, or Dwight Howard snags one or Melo manages to get over the hump they should all call LeBron and thank him for their ultimate title salvation.

Maybe one day the fans will thank him too, but maybe they will not.

After all, it was a really dumb idea to go on national television and kill basketball in Cleveland for the foreseeable future.

The Dwightmare Concludes

In 2012 the end of the basketball world arrived rather loudly, and not at all with a whimper.  The Dwightmare is finally over and “the most hated player in basketball” is now an LA Laker.

Even though this has long been inevitable, now that the day has arrived it just seems unfair.  LA is stacked beyond belief and did not give up Pau Gasol.  How is this even possible?  The Lakers got rid of one head case center and got a much, much, much better headcase center in return…for virtually nothing.

Was Orlando promised the first pick in the 2013 Draft?  The Magic may have realized they were never going to get over the hump with Dwight…but to take virtually nothing but Aaron Afflalo and horrific late-20’s draft picks is unforgivable (unless they are getting the first pick in the 2013 NBA Draft).  How did Orlando not take the much better offer from Brooklynn?  Or even the Lakers earlier offer that included Bynum and Gasol?

I applaud Dwight for one thing only: he went to the Western Conference.  He saw LeBron and Miami getting better and better, but recognized that the West could potentially be won.  Sure OKC is an incredible team led by the second best player in the game, but Howard is joining a team with Steve Nash, Old Kobe and a hungrier than ever Pau Gasol who just destroyed the Olympics.  How does that sound Dwight?  Is LA alright now?

At the conclusion of last season, watching my Miami Heat raise the NBA Title, I was not sure if the Miami Thrice Title Quest Diary could continue…now I have a reason to keep going – I hate Dwight Howard.  As much as I desperately want Steve Nash to get a ring (more than anyone) knowing what it would mean if he did get one makes me feel a little sick.  Kobe would get his sixth (but not as Alpha Dog, which means that of his 6 titles, he was Alpha Dog for only 2 of them – Jordan was the man for all 6) which would ingnite a ridiculous Kobe or Jordan debate.  No question: Jordan…then LeBron (in my opinion).  Additionally Dwight would get a title and few people have deserved one less – only Melo comes to mind.  Howard proved over and again that he never cared one iota about winning.  He only cares about Dwight.  His fake show of loyalty turns the stomach and it will be interesting to see how he fits in with Kobe.

This year is all about “Beat LA” and you can consider me fully in.

The Miami Thrice Twice as Nice Title Quest Continues!

 

Miami Thrice Title Quest Diary – Post Game

Last week for the first time in the two year history of the Big Three, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade played exactly as we envisioned…and it was absolutely brilliant.  They made the extra pass, the attacked the boards like rabid wolverines and they were lights out when they got open shots.

LeBron absolutely dominated and in taking the entire focus of the Thunder’s overmatched defense allowed all of Miami’s miracle three’s to be shot completely open.  On defense he terrified the Thunder into bad shots and sloppy passes all night.  Every time he found a wide open shooter he was rewarded, and the amount of free dunks for Wade and Bosh is a testament to that.

Then there were the little things: the Heat outhustled the Thunder to every loose ball and played to win from the outset.  Shane Battier and Mike Miller made sure they earned their first title by burying nearly all their threes in an outrageous display.  Each time Mike Miller shot @madadub and I yelled “No!”  which turned into “Another one!!!  Unbelievable!”  Bosh and Wade contributed spectacular blocks and LeBron had another one that should have ended up in the stands.

Making the right play at the right time is hard, and in the playoffs LeBron was able to do so each and every time.  Before Game 6 of the Boston series LeBron needed a hard gut check and he took it.  His response was unbelievable and he suddenly got it.  The light went on and he knew that the only way to a Championship is the hard way.  He earned it big time and with one of the best seasons in NBA history.  Before Game 6 he did not seem to want it – and then suddenly he did.  From that point on he did what superstars have to in order to win: make everyone around them better.  LeBron lifted his team each and every second of the game.

The Heat saw exactly how well they can play – when LeBron leads the way.

Miami’s best players have to be LeBron, Bosh and then Wade.  Can Wade occasionally take over?  Sure, but the Heat are best when he takes a step back and Bosh moves forward.

Going forward this team could be genuinely scary: LeBron, at 27, has finally figured out what it takes to win.  And he is the best player in the world.  He admits this was the hardest thing he has ever done, period.  A relaxed ‘Bron?  Truly terrifying (even Westbrook was beaten in Game 5 – it was like he had literally done everything he could have but watched them lose.  He just had nothing left).

Some thoughts on the afterparty:

– Miami could easily have spent more than 200k, but they took it easy.

– What made LBJ decide to throw on the “Vampire LeBron” shirt for the celebration?  Was he saving it for five or six years and telling himself “when I win a title I am finally going to wear this shirt”

Could Miami and OKC have a series of epic battles going forward?  Durant is going to win four or five titles and Miami could win a couple more.  These teams will meet again with something serious on the line.  Bill Simmons wrote that one of the most important things for Superstars is to be pushed by a rival.  LeBron had virtually vanquished all of his, but Durant will not go away.  This rivalry has the chance to go the distance.

We as fans, cannot wait.

 

Miami Thrice Title Quest Diary – THE TITLE!!!

MIAMI WINS!  MIAMI WINS!

YES!!!

Everyone on the court went above and beyond to earn this title.  LeBron did everything he had to and defensively the team was brilliant.  All the little things got done.

And then there was Shane Battier and Mike Miller.

Playing for the title both were absolutely lights out.  Miller did exactly what they brought him in for two years ago – he hit threes when LeBron found him with the pass.  The Thunder collapsed four players on LeBron all night and he cut them apart with his passing.

Unbelievable.

A Ring for the King…and he earned it, the hard way.

One of the ten best players in the history of the league just earned his first title.  He was Larry Bird 2.0.  Not Wilt.  Larry Bird.  This was his greatest postseason ever – perhaps the greatest postseason performance of all time.

Miami are NBA Champs!

LeBron, Wade, Bosh all earned it tonight.  The smile on LBJ’s face and the fact he was not letting that trophy go said it all.  His girlfriend may also be sleeping alone tonight….

Congrats to the Champs!

Miaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaami!

 

 

Miami Thrice Title Quest Diary – June 19, 2012

Exhale.  Breathe.  Exhale.  Breathe.  Remember to breathe.

So many things to cover: LeBron James injury, Mario Chalmers epic performance, DWade’s leadership and Shane Battier wanting it more than anyone else on the floor.

We start with Russell Westbrook, a man who just put on the 2nd epic point guard performance against the Miami Heat of these playoffs.  Interestingly though: both in games that Miami ended up winning.  Westbrook was unstoppable going to the rim…but it kept Durant from taking over.  Time and again Westbrook passed up on making easy shots for Durant and shot himself.  He was amazing but he was not leading the team to victory.

LeBron James got hurt on a seemingly innocent drive where he looked as if he blew a tire.  Vicious cramps all but ended his game…except for a one legged drive and then a one legged three!  Without LeBron the team managed to pull out the win thanks to the fantastic and timely play of Mario Chalmers and Chris Bosh.

DWade was a little more treat than trick this evening and managed to provide solid leadership throughout the game.

A truly magnificent game by the Heat – coming back from a brutal Thunder charge from out of the gate and then weathering the storm enough to gut out a win.  This is what it takes.

Shane Battier knows.  He is doing whatever it takes and his tip on the jump ball may have been the most significant play of his career.  He wanted it more, simply wanted to get it done.  Battier leapt for the ball and managed to tip it to Chalmers.  Westbrook transforming again into an extremely young player fouled Chalmers right away completely uneccessarily.

Miami wanted it more tonight and even with ‘Bron on the sideline, they managed to get it done.