Friday, June 3, 2011

Choke Beach

Brian Cardinal was trending on twitter after subbing in.
Honestly I have never disliked a team as much as I do with the Heat. Maybe it comes from how this team was formed, or the jealousy of my favorite team not getting Lebron, or the fact that I really never liked Lebron’s power style of basketball and his demeanor in pressure situations. The truth is, I am a Lebron James hater, and I cannot deny it. The Heat are clearly more athletic and talented, and should have had no problems winning last night. Last night, I turned to my roommate, saying the game was over. I did not know if I could watch the rest. That was right after Wade drained a corner three to put the Heat up by 15 with around 7 minutes to go. Then we saw a great magic act from the entire Miami Heat team. Just like that, they disappeared, Wade seemed to have mentally checked out of the game, thinking his 36 point production was good enough for a long day's work. Lebron spent more time dribbling out the shot clock to take long contested threes. There was a sequence where Lebron took a bad three and the Heat got the offensive board only to wait out the 24 seconds for the same exact bad shot.

I hate to kick Lebron when he is down, but clearly the man is not made from the same stuff as Kobe and Jordan. He loves the bright lights of stardom, not the heat of pressure moments of playoff games. Everyone always likes to point to that one game where Lebron single-handedly destroyed the Detroit Pistons, going for 25 straight points. He was the one-man show; everyone thought he would have multiple championships by now. Let’s be honest, that year he was barely old enough to drink, he was not even supposed to be there. Lebron and the Cavs had no pressure at all, and were eventually embarrassed in the finals. Like I said during the Bulls series, Lebron needed to win with ease otherwise he would become invisible like he did in the 2010 Celtics series. I stand by my belief that Lebron needs to win with his back against the wall to silence his critics, but unless we see Wade close out games like its 2006, the Heat will have a tough time putting the Mavs away.

And again, I never want to hear people calling Dirk soft. Dirk played a gritty game last night. His silky smooth J was not so smooth, but just like the rest of his teammates, he kept calm and played to what Miami was giving him. Clearly the Heat’s speed on defense is the best in the league, and I have to give them credit for closing out on shooters and forcing the ball out of Dirk's hands. But when it counted, it was the German who game through. Nowitzki made the final 9 points. The Mavs believe in their leader, and Dirk takes that responsibility and expects to come through, something I have yet to see from Lebron. The Mavericks’ age and wisdom has proven to be worth far more than young legs and energy. Miami put on a show last night for 3.5 quarters. There were off-balanced shots and highlight dunks. If it was anyone's team in the finals besides Dallas, we might have seen another Andrew Bynum incident, but not this Maverick team. They never seemed to be rattled. No matter what happens in the rest of the series, last night was truly amazing. We saw one star overcome past demons while another continued to be haunted by the same ghosts he tried to run from by leaving Cleveland.


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