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HEAT BUST IT WIDE OPEN
Posted By Sean Eckhardt On Jun 22 2012 @ 2:41 am In Miami Heat | No Comments
So much for not having any depth. The Miami Heat waited until the final game of the season to turn in their best overall performance as a team. They had six players score in double figures and four players dropped at least 20 points on the Thunder. Oh yeah, and LeBron James went out and got a triple-double as Miami ran away from OKC 121-106, to secure their second NBA Title.
The obvious storyline is that LeBron finally got his first NBA Championship, but there were some other ones that were a little under the radar that were integral in both this game, and this series. Mike Miller might have just played the last game of his career. Throughout his two years in Miami, and especially during this postseason, Miller has looked like an 85-year-old man. If it was his last game, he went out in style, setting an NBA Finals record for 3pt FG’s off the bench, as he went 7-8 and finished with 23 points. Juwan Howard, who was playing for the “Fab Five” at Michigan right around the time Norris Cole was born, got his first ring after 18 seasons in the NBA. Cole, a rookie, actually had an impact on these Finals, logging quality minutes and provided good energy while spelling guys like Mario Chalmers, who himself found times to be a huge contributor, like Game 4 when he lit up the Thunder for 25 points.
Then there is the story of Dwyane Wade and Eric Spoelstra. These two guys have been working together very closely since Wade’s rookie campaign in 2003. For all of the talk about the pressure on LeBron James, in some ways there was even more on Coach Spo. The national media called for his head on a platter several times during the last two seasons and there were plenty of local guys that were quick to criticize him as well. And while Bron has had his critics, nobody ever called for him to be fired. Spoelstra, however, has always been backed by the two people in the organization that matter most; DWade and Pat Riley. As long as those two guys were on his side, he wasn’t going anywhere.
Of course, the biggest story is still that LeBron finally won. Even guys who have been critical of James, myself included, had to grin when they saw LeBron smiling like a little kid as the clock wound down in Game 5. It is the first time I can remember him looking truly happy in a long time. That moment reminded me of when Brett Favre won the Super Bowl in New Orleans and went running around the field like a ten-year-old. There is something about seeing a grown man lose it and act like a little boy that we love. Perhaps it’s that a lot of people would love to feel that way as an adult, but so few ever do, so when we see an elite athlete display that unadulterated, completely genuine joy, it lets us live a little vicariously through them.
So congratulations to the Miami Heat. LeBron and Co. finally have relieved some of the pressure that they created for themselves two years ago. But beyond the players, there is someone even more important to the franchise; Pat Riley. This man literally has made Miami a basketball city. Since arriving from New York, he has traded for, drafted, and signed some of the biggest players of the past twenty years, and the Heat have now won their second NBA Title. Heat fans cheer for LeBron, DWade, Bosh and others, but they should be very thankful the Riles has been here for the long haul. He is really their MVP.
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