Friday, June 22, 2012

The Finals: Game 5

The King Gets His Ring
Story by Pete Certo

If you are an NBA Guy (or Gal), last night was simply glorious.  LeBron finally did it on attempt number three.  It was the first time he has been able to stand up straight because the ten-ton anvil was lifted off his back.  He actually flicked it off effortlessly seeing that we have not witnessed such a display of speed mixed with power since Frank Dux went undefeated in the Kumite. There is no need to sit here and regale you with James' stats and place in history with his playoff performances this year - go look it up and see for yourself.  Simply amazing.  He is a joy to watch and his play should not be taken for granted. Watching him perform and dominate in the finals was reminiscent of when this guy named MJ was the Sheriff of this here town.  It should be noted that while MJ was the law, we were all much younger and didn't try understand how to appreciate the game properly.  Now as a grown-ass men we can recognize the specialness, the greatness, and the uniqueness of his game, and you should want to drink it in like a San Diego sunset because it always goes down smooth.

If you appreciate basketball last night's Game 5 clincher was breathtaking to watch.  From the opening tip, you could just tell Miami had it.  While the Thunder looked nervous, jittery, and erratic the Heat played aggressive while remaining calm and composed.  Sound like an oxymoron?  Watch the tape and try to say otherwise.  The Heat played the way Pat Riley envisioned this team when he built it.  They played their best game of the year during the most important game of the year.  Contributions were abound from the entire team and it was earned as an entire team last night.  Here are some quick thoughts on the pivotal members of this championship Heat team:

LeBron: see above, not much else to say.  Transcendent. 

D-Wade:  On of my favorite player for years now.  Currently wearing his jersey as this is being written.  Mr. Wade quietly had an impressive performance throughout the playoffs.  23-5-4-2-1.  It is understandable that it was overshadowed by what LeBron did, but what makes it so impressive is he was clearly hobbled by that knee of his.  It forced him to take a lot more jumpers and that is not particularly a good thing seeing he is not the greatest jump shooter, but everyone now and then he FLASHed flickers of his brilliance and you just had a feeling he would come through when you needed it most.

Mike Miller:  If that was your last game, what a way to go out!  7/8 from deep on that body part formally known as your back?  Wow.  It is widely speculated that he is going to retire due to the extent of his injuries. (have you seen him walk?)  He will probably keep playing because this team isn't done, and he can be a sharpshooter for a couple more years.  Please keep in mind this season was uber-condensed which did not allow for proper rest and treatment time between games.  If he does not return, a tip of the Roundball cap to his career because he was much better than most remember, and goes out a champion.

"Mista" Battier:  He wanted it and glad he got it.  Battier had a rough ride all year.  His shooting and stats were down career-lows style, but like a bat out of hell, he came alive and on fire draining buckets galore.  He is a thinking man's player, and the way in which he takes charges is acceptable.  He doesn't run in front of a guy at the last millisecond (which is currently killing the game). His cerebral approach to the game has paid off and he is now a Champion.

Rio Chalmers:  Dude is gutsy.  On a team with LBJ, D-Wade, and Bosh, he honestly thinks he should be the guy who should take the last shot at the end of games.  He is absolutely the littler brother on this team, but that is a good thing to be when the big brothers are the Big Three.  Sure, Rio makes some boneheaded plays at times, but his pros heavily outweigh the cons, and he is deadly from 3.

Norris Cole:  Go 'head rook!  In the Game 2 predictions blog, it was mused that Cole is capable of relieving Rio for short spells here and there.  Lo and behold, look what happened -  Cole came in, and like a cold-blooded Rick James, he dropped daggers from 3.  It should be noted that he did it all while rockin' the Philly Fade on his dome.

Joel Anthony:  Not completely sure why you suddenly stopped getting any time because you are an active defender who blocks shots and runs the floor extremely well (there is a gazelle-like quality to it).  Perhaps there is more to this than we know, but nonetheless, Joel played a nice role subbing in for Bosh (along with Ronny Turiaf to a lesser extent).

UD:  The workhorse.  The man is a professional.  He gets after it, does the dirty work and gets it done.  His rebounding was crucial, and his mid range J a la Horace Grant was money.  And honestly, everyone loved when he smacked down Psycho T in the Indiana series.  Come on, admit it.  Admit it.  Thank you.

Mr. Bosh:  We salute you.  It is easy to get lost in the shuffle with LeBron and Wade on your team.  People like to mock him because of his faces and say it is really the Big 2.  True NBA Guys never lost sight of what he brings to the table.  We here at Roundball have always taken offense to people hating on him.  Bosh is a well-spoken, educated, genuinely nice guy who oh, also happen to be a SEVEN time All-Star.  When Bosh went down during the Indiana series it was a huge blow.  His injury - that of an abdominal strain is much more painful than anyone wants to acknowledge.  Basketball is a game of running, jumping, twisting, and contorting.  Bosh came back not 100% and contributed exactly what the Heat needed so badly:  Toughness and rebounding.  A big body getting blocks and boards.  Hat's off to Mr. Bosh.

Eddy Curry:  Eddy Curry has a ring.  Umph.  Ugh.

And just like that another NBA season is in the books.  As fast and furious as it began on Christmas Day like a Washington Bullet train, it is now over just as quick.  We look forward to next year with great anticipation, but first, don’t forget to enjoy the NBA Draft next week - Thursday, June 28th.  See you there.

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