Thoughts on the NBA finals

Even if your not a big NBA fan, you had to enjoy the last few games of the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs series. There was plenty of suspense and drama in both games. As a hoops fan, I was glued to my seat during both games and I can honestly say that I have not seen 10 better NBA games than games 6 and 7. People will be talking about these two games for years to come and I am sure they will be replayed many times on NBA TV or during those NBA classic segments on ESPN.

The Miami Heat flat out deserved to win the championship. They were by far the best team in the league during the regular season and overcame some adversity during the playoffs to win the title. The injury to Dwayne Wade appears to be more serious than what people were lead to believe. His injury made the Heat very vulnerable during the playoffs but they persevered and that is the mark of a championship team. They have a lot of talent but are also a very mentally tough team. Very few teams could have pulled off that dramatic rally in game 6 like the Heat did.

You really have to feel sorry for the San Antonio Spurs and their fans. They had the championship stolen from them in game 6. Anytime a team is up by 5 points with 25 seconds left, they have to feel very good about their chances. Especially a veteran team like the Spurs. I have never seen, in all my years of watching sports, a more heart breaking way to lose a championship. The players will have to live with this series for the rest of their lives. It might be the last time they will make it this far. The Spurs are one of the best run organizations in the history of pro sports and they certainly deserved a better fate.

Superstars quite often come up big in big moments like a game 7 and LeBron James and Wade did not disappoint. I was very impressed by James aggressiveness in the last game especially on the shot that pretty much sealed the deal for the Heat. He could have passed the ball and deferred to another teammate but he stepped up big and knocked down a huge shot. That is what great players do and James is slowly making a case for being the best player in the history of the game. I still think it is way to early to hand him the crown yet, let him finish his career and then we can start comparing him and Mr. Jordan. But he is well on his way to matching Jordan. I never thought it would be possible but James is just one of those special players that only comes around ever so often. His clutch plays in game 6 and 7 only added to his great legacy and I am sure there will be more special moments in the future from King James.

So what is in store for the future for the Heat and how do they rank among other championship teams? I would not rank them even close to Chicago, Boston or LA. teams of the 80’s and 90’s. They are a good championship team but not a great one. They definitely have some holes to fill in the off season. They are not a very good rebounding team and that is one area they will have to address. Somehow, I do not think it will be very hard to attract some good free agent to that city! If they fix the rebounding issue and get Wade to come back healthy for next season, they have a great shot at three peating. But teams will really be gunning for them next year and it will be more difficult than ever to win another title.

In closing, I just want to commend both teams for a great series. Both teams are champions in my book. I really enjoyed watching a couple of great teams battle it out like they did. For someone who appreciates good basketball, this series had plenty of it. Most NBA finals are forgotten by me. This one will not be. I will never forget the images of Ray Allen hitting that big shot in game 6 or LeBron in game 7. Or how about seeing a great superstar like Tim Duncan slap his hand to the ground after missing a crucial shot late in game 7. Those special moments will only add to the great history of the NBA.

 

 

 

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The troubles of LeBron James and the Miami Heat

I think it is fair to say that LeBron James has been by far the most scrutinized athlete in the past year.  And the amount of scrutiny has really increased during the past few weeks, particularly in wake of his and the Miami Heat’s failure to bring home a championship. Many observers including this stupid blogger thought they would win at least 70 games this year and dominate the NBA.  After all,  they have 2 of the top 10, maybe 5 players in the game along with a very solid player in Chris Bosh, one of the top forwards in the game. How can a team with that much talent struggle so much especially when the game is on the line in the 4th quarter?

LeBron James is considered by many as the best player in the NBA today and has been for the past few years. In fact,  I was listening to a discussion a few weeks ago on whether James will become the greatest to ever play the game.  Several callers even thought that he is a much better player than Michael Jordan ever was.  Having seen both play a number of times, I think there is no comparison.  LBJ is nowhere near the caliber of player MJ was.  Perhaps in a few years he may be but please, enough of the comparisons between Lebron and MJ, Magic or Larry Bird! Don’t get me wrong.  James is a great player but the true mark of a superstar is a guy who can deliver in the clutch in a championship series.  Magic, Michael and Larry were famous for there exploits during key moments of a playoff game. Where was Lebron during the 4th quarter of several of these games with Dallas?  Scoring a grand total of 2 points in the quarter will not cut it!! And he struggled during key moments of last years playoff series with Boston. For those of you who think James is better than Jordan, I have a question to ask you. How would you rather have on the floor during the 4th quarter of a crucial playoff game?  To me, there is no question who I would rather have. Jordan may have been the greatest clutch player of all time.

If you look back on the history of the NBA, many teams have bounced back to win the championship after going through disappointing playoff losses.  Miami may still win several championships in a row but they need to add a few more pieces to their talented team. And LeBron has to get better and take his game to a new level.  His performance during some of these playoff games is unacceptable and his legacy will be built on how he plays in future championship series.  The mark of a true superstar is someone who leads his to a championship like Dirk Norwitzki did for Dallas. Maybe LeBron should learn from Norwitzki and the Heat should learn that a few superstars with all the glamour and glitz will never beat a true team like Dallas.