Boston will win Game 7.
I was a little taken back, but not surprised, by the way LeBron stepped up in Game 6. After two full days of media fist swinging, LBJ needed a breakout game. He got one, even if it still doesn’t do much to mitigate his detractors (myself included).
The man scored 45 points and brought down 15 rebounds … he had 30 points in the first half. Amazing, sure. But again, my problem with LeBron is that he doesn’t take to the floor with the same gusto when the game is truly on the line. I’ve said time and again that he’s the best player at building a powerful lead, but sucks when the other team inches within four or five points. He’ll carry the load for three quarters, put his team in a good position to win and then step back for a cup of tea.
If the Heat can build a sizable lead, then James can go to work.
That’s why I still think Boston will win Game 7. Look at it this way: all the Celtics have to do is stay within 5-10 points for three quarters. If they can manage a fourth quarter run and keep the game close down the stretch, James will do the rest for them (IE choke, make wild passes/shots while playing a fetching game of hot potato).
Paul Pierce had a miserable shooting performance (he missed 13 out of 16 shots and all six of his 3-pointers), one that he will not echo in Game 7. Kevin Garnett (the Big Ticket) won’t go down without a fight. Neither will Rondo, or Allen. All veteran players who continually look adversity (and age) in the eye without so much as blinking.
James went off in Game 6. It was spectacular, yes. But it was also an empty performance, one geared more towards the media than Doc Rivers’ squad. James wanted to make a statement and prove to the media that he was still a great basketball player. At one point I think he even decapitated Pietrus before chucking the basketball into the stands while screaming, “Are you NOT entertained? Is this not why you are here?” Will this gladiator show up for Game 7? Probably not. James got what he wanted: media attention. He quieted the naysayers, and dazzled the spectators. Suddenly he was that man partying in Vegas surrounded by admirers who shouted his name as though he were a God.
That’s all he wants. James’ top priority is not to win. He wants to put on a show. The Heat are, as the Bulls’ Noah explained, “Hollywood as hell.”
The Heat are still the flawed team that listlessly go about playing games as though the mere presence of two superstars will grant them immortality on the court. In reality, Wade continues to struggle; as does Miami’s supporting unit. Spoelstra is still the same idiot who has no idea how to guide his players in the fourth quarter. Bosh will likely play more minutes, but is still hampered by his abdominal injury, no matter what he says.
Boston carries a superb coach in Doc Rivers. Plus they’ve been here before. I love how everyone said they were getting healthy, and thus playing better when they won Game 5, but now call them old, injured, and past their prime. It’s true that the Celtics no longer qualify as an elite team, but they’re smart. They don’t have the manpower, or athleticism, to stop a LeBron James freight train, but they don’t have to worry about that guy in Game 7.
James put on a show, silenced the naysayers and will likely go back to playing his customary ball. It’d actually be kind of cool to see James play with the kind of fire he showed in Game 6 on a nightly basis. Nobody would be able to stop him. If he plays like that in Game 7, Boston doesn’t have a chance.
But he won’t, because he’s LeBron James. He can put on a show, but one that lacks heart, determination and grit.
And that’s why (barring some sort of Dwayne Wade explosion) Boston will win Game 7.