The Miami Heat will advance to the NBA Finals.
I’m writing this in response to JAmes’ post partially to be a contrarian but also because I believe it to be true.
LeBron James did something in Game 6 that had only been done by some guy named Wilt Chamberlain when he dropped 45 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists on the Celtics with almost NO help from his supporting cast. While it is probably unreasonable to think he’ll equal that tonight, do you really think he’s going to disappear? If LeBron hears all the criticism and used Game 6 as a statement game then he’s certainly aware that if the Heat lose Game 7 and he has anything less than a spectacular performance in the game, then Game 6 will be forgotten and the firestorm of criticism will rain down on him just as fiercely as before.
I’m like most NBA fans in that I was disgusted by “The Decision” and annoyed by the preseason celebration including the famous “Not one, not two…” line from James. I rooted hard against the Heat last year and I don’t want to see them win the title this year either (despite my picking them to do so at the start of the playoffs). However, I think the hate against James has gone way too far. He’s the best player in the NBA and it’s fun to watch him. I was annoyed enough with all the criticism of him that, even though I don’t want them to win, here is an exact quote from me to a friend online early in Game 6.
I have a confession.
I kinda want LeBron to drop 50 on Boston.
So I was off by 5 points. As a fan, what I’d like to see is LeBron have a fabulous game tonight, hitting several big shots in key moments. At the end, he hits the shot to put them up only to have Paul Pierce do the same at the other end. However, even with that, the haters will always hate. Does James look tentative in crunch time? Yes, it seems that way. But when he has games like he did in Game 6, it still counts as coming up big when you ensure there IS NO crunch time to even deal with. That’s proof enough.
Why else are the Heat going to win? Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Wade was mediocre in Game 6 and Bosh was still working back into the lineup. This will be Bosh’s 3rd game back and you have to think Wade will step up in a moment this big. For once, I expect Miami’s Big 3 to have big games all at the same time. Besides, Boston is starting to look old. They’re mentally tough, sure, but maybe their bodies are finally breaking down. Remember that the Sixers pushed them to 7 games too, they might not have it. So even with all the pressure squarely on their shoulders, Miami will advance to the NBA Finals.
Where the OKC Thunder will trounce them in 5, keeping all of us who root so fervently against the Heat happy but giving Derek Fisher another ring. Hey, nobody said it would be perfect.