“It’s about damn time man, It’s about damn time.” Lebron said moments after winning his first NBA Championship. It has been a long 9 years in the NBA for Lebron who came in with surreal expectations of how great he truly could be. Since arriving into the league in 2003 the bar was set so high that experts felt James could make the impossible seem possible. After 2 previous trips to the NBA finals which ended in losses for Lebron, he finally has a chance to call the trophy his along with the finals MVP trophy.
“I had to regroup after losing last year to Dallas. I had to get back to playing the way i did when I was in Cleveland before I came to Miami and played with anger. When I play with anger the game isn’t fun for me so I had to get back to playing the way I did when I was having fun.” Lebron said after the game. The 2012 playoff run was one of the best individual playoff performances in the NBA history. James recorded 2 triple doubles alone during the NBA finals along with his other jaw dropping stats.
You have to wonder now that Lebron finally has that elusive championship and has figured out how to win one, how much more can he possibly has by the time his career is over. Yes he is 9 years into his career but he is only 27. With Dwayne Wade 30 years old he has officially passed the torch to Lebron as the leader of the Miami Heat. Wade has done the torch passing gracefully and without hesitation because it’s the right thing for the Miami Heat team.
This Miami Heat team played their best basketball with their backs against the wall in the playoffs. They trailed the Boston Celtics 3-2 before dominating game 6 and finishing them off in game 7. A Round earlier against the Pacers the Heat were staring down a 3-1 deficit before winning the last 3 games to advance. They fell behind the Thunder 1-0 and almost gave game 2 away before winning the last 4 games to be champions.
There was a different energy this season about the Heat this year. Last season they played with a chip on their shoulder and a sense of entitlement. This season they went about things in a very workmanlike way and just played the game with purpose.
Miami now has the experience, and all the tools to dominate the league for years to come. The way the Heat were constructed has them firmly in the drivers seat for a good 5 year period.
Congratulations Lebron and Chris Bosh on your first ring, and to Dwayne Wade on your second ring.
They say defending your title is a lot harder then winning your first one. Let’s see if the Miami Heat have a dynasty on their hands.
Even with his legs cramping up, Lebron still found a way to will in a huge 3 pointer late in the game that put the Miami Heat up to stay. “I wanted to find a way to contribute even with my body giving up on me. I had to find a way, I owed it to my ballclub.” James said following the win.
Lebron and the Heat are now up 3-1 with history on their side. No team in NBA finals history has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the championship. Losing against the Mavs in the 2011 finals seems to have taught the Heat all kinds of lessons on what it takes to win a championship. “We stumbled last year and for me personally I struggled late in games against Dallas. We now know what it takes to win a game in the finals with the experience we gained last year.” James said.
The young Thunder team made costly mistakes down the strech. The biggest mistake may have been Westbrook fouling Chalmers after the jump ball with 17 seconds left when Miami only had 5 seconds on the shot clock to work with. “I had a meltdown, I didn’t realize the shot clock didn’t reset. I cost us the game.” Westbrook said following the loss. Westbrook had a fabulous shooting game scoring 43 points on 20-32 shooting but it came in defeat.
“It’s not over yet man. We have to come out and leave everything we have out on the floor thursday night.”Durant said following the loss. The Thunder raced out to a 17 point lead only to see it vanish in seemingly the blink of an eye.
The Thunder will need another strong start in game 5 if they want to give themselves a chance. “We can’t let our foot off the gas pedal thursday night. If we do then were done, we have to continue staying aggressive and give ourselves a chance at bringing this series back home.” Harden said.
Being down 3-1 looks like a death sentence for this Thunder team. Being up 3-1 for the Miami Heat feels like destiny for Lebron.
Will Lebron finally get that elusive first championship ring? Will Durant and Westbrook will the Thunder to a win and force the series back to OKC?
Thirty teams have been down 3-1 in the NBA finals, and all thirty teams have lost the series. OKC Thunder face a must win in game 4 if they want to avoid becoming team number thirty-one. Kevin Durant has been hampered by foul trouble the last 2 games having to take on the burden of trying to guard Lebron James. “He’s a tough cover, he’s very physical and im reaching a lot right now and I have to stop reaching.” Durant said following the game 3 loss.
Sixth man of the year Jeff Harden has essentially been non existant the first three games of the series. For the Thunder to have a chance of knotting the series at two games a piece Harden will have to come alive on offense. Harden’s biggest strength is his playmaking but his scoring is needed in this series. “My shot’s just aren’t falling right now. I need to do a better job of getting to my spots where I can be successful with putting the ball in the basket.” Harden said following the game.
Westbrook continues to be judged for all his shot attempts in the series and has no plans to stop shooting anytime soon. “I will continue getting my shots up and staying aggressive. It’s what I have done all season and it worked, why would I stop now?” Westbrook said. Westbrook clearly has the advantage over Chalmers with his speed but he is still settling for jumpers. If Westbrook can make it a priority to get to the basket consistently it will begin to open things up for Harden and of course Kevin Durant.
Game four will be the turning point in the series one way or the either. After game four the Heat could be up 3-1 and one win away from the championship. Or the series can be tied at 2-2 with a game 6 being necessary back in Oklahoma. Either way game 4 will be the most pivotal. Miami was up 2-1 last year before losing the last 3 games of the series. Will Miami learn from past failures and put a strangle-hold on the series and the championship? Or will Durant and the Thunder fight and claw their way to a 2-2 series tie?
One could argue game 3 is the most important game in a series being tied at 1 game a piece. The series has now shifted to Miami for the middle 3 games and is now a best of 5 series. Miami dealt the Thunder their first home loss of the 2012 playoffs and now has the chance to try and win the series at home. Only twice in NBA history has a team won all 3 middle games at home in the finals. The 2004 Detroit Pistons and the last team to do it which was the 2006 Miami Heat.
There is still a lot of question marks going into game 3. Will Westbrook keep forcing the issue? Will Lebron continue his stellar play from the first 2 games in OKC? If this series has taught us anything so far it’s that no lead is safe. Miami got off to a strong start in game 1 taking a 13 point lead before losing the game. Again in game 2 Miami took a 17 point lead before hanging on for a narrow 4 point win they had to have.
We know both teams can score and score in a hurry. With Kevin Durant fully aware of the moment I expect him to continue staying aggressive in South Beach and will his Thunder team to at least 1 win.
For Miami it’s quietly been the story of Chris bosh having a huge impact. In just his 5th game back from injury he said a 16 point 15 rebound effort in the game 2 in. Bosh has made his presence felt on the inside all while getting himself back into game shape. If Shane Battier can keep connecting from the 3 point line Miami will prove to be a tough team to beat.
Game 3 will be all about the role players. Who’s role players will show up and have the bigger impact? Derek Fisher is playing in his 8th NBA finals and hasn’t made the impact we have grown accustomed to over the years. Will playing on the road force Fisher to come out a little more aggressive for his young Thunder team and make an impact?
History shows when the series is knotted up at 1-1 and the winner of game 3 takes the 2-1 series lead, more times then not they win the series.
Eager to erase the bitter ending to the 2011 playoffs, Lebron James has been spectacular in leading the Miami Heat back to the finals for another shot at his first championship. Hard to believe this is already the 9th season in the NBA for Lebron and he is only 27 years old. Coming straight out of high school, James has always been held to the highest expectations and possibly unrealistic expectations. Even before stepping foot in his first official NBA game the “experts” were saying Lebron would be better then Michael Jordan.
This is Lebron’s 3rd time in the finals in his quest to win a championship. When he first signed on with the heat he went on the record to say “we’re not gonna win 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6 championships but 7.” With that infamous quote he added even more pressure to himself that has been placed on him since draft day in 2003. James first finals appearance in 2007 ended in a sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. The criticism after that series was that Lebron needed to develop his jumper otherwise he would be easier to defend. After the Heat lost last year in 6 games against Dallas, the criticism was Lebron needed to improve his post game and show up in the 4th quarter.
Only 2 games have been played during the 2012 Finals between OKC and the Heat, and Lebron has answered the bell so far. Despite Miami losing game 1 of the series Lebron delivered 30 points including 7 in the 4th quarter. Lebron again answered the bell in game 2 during the 4th quarter scoring 32 points including 6 in the 4th quarter while going a perfect 12-12 from the free throw line. For the Heat to win this series they will need Lebron to continue playing like a man on the mission the way he has the entire playoff run of 2012.
They have always said to be a champion you must learn to fail. Maybe Lebron has finally learned after failing more then once?
Indiana made Miami frusterated and left them searching for answers. Struggling to adjust without the injured Chris Bosh the Heat’s offense is looking very predicatable and easy to stop. ”We have all vested together in this and are all in it together to the end,” West said. ”We will not back down or take anything from any team.”
The Pacers are the much more tougher and physical team right now. They are imposing their will on the game on both sides of the floor and are controlling the paint. Third year player Roy Hibbert had the best game of his career with 19 points and 18 rebounds. “My primary focus is defense, defense, defense,” he said. ”I embrace that role and let the offense come to me. Them being one and done, that’s what we talked about in the huddle,” he said. ”One shot and they’re done.”
Heat star Dwayne Wade has struggled all series long including a miserable 2-13 shooting effort in game 3. Wade has been forcing shots trying to shoot his way out of the slump while it has looked lke a one man team with Lebron trying to do all the heavy lifting for Miami. It looks like everything is falling apart for the Heat from the inside as the playoffs are getting more intense. During a huddle Wade got into a shouting match with coach Erik Spoelstra.
”That happens,” Spoelstra said. ”Anybody that has been part of a team or has been a coach or been a player, you have no idea how often things like that happen. That was during a very emotional part of the game. We were getting our butt kicked. Those exchanges happen all the time during the course of an NBA season. There’s going to be a lot of times where guys say something, you don’t like it. You get over it and you move on. We’re all connected. Dwyane and I have been together for a long time, a long time. We’ve been through basically everything. A lot of different roles, a lot of different teams. That really is nothing. That is the least of our concern. That type of fire, shoot, that’s good. That’s the least of our concerns. Our concern is getting ready for Sunday.”
The Pacers have a tremendous opportunity to get one step closer to pulling off a shocking upset in the second round. On Sunday they can take a commanding 3-1 series lead and grab the series by the throat. Will this be the Heat’s final gasp of air? Or will the Heat come out and fight their way to a 2-2 series tie?
- Miami vs. Sun, May 20, 2012 3:30 PM EDT
Game one saw the Miami Heat come out and deliver a statement win against the New York Knicks. The Knicks never had a chance in getting blown out 100-67. Lebron led the way with 32 points on a very efficient 10-14 shooting. ”I’m a different player this year, a different person this year compared to last year,” James said. ”I’ve waited to get back to the postseason, prepared myself all season, throughout the offseason to get back to this point.” Carmelo never found his rhythm and struggled to score just 11 points on 3-15 shooting that will not get it done.
This season has been a rollercoaster ride to say the least for the New York Knicks. Injuries to key players all season led the way to an inconsistent season for a team that had high expectations. A new coach, a savior point guard in Jeremy Lin are now yesterday’s news. Coach D’antoni was let go halfway through and after all the “linsanity” hype early on the Knicks are now a very different team. “Coming off all the injuries myself and Amare have had this season has made it very hard for us to be consistent and play with any consistency. I am not here to make excuses though, I firmly believe we have what it takes and I know game 2 will be a very different story for myself and my teamates.”Anthony said after the game.
For the Head the gauntlet has already been thrown down. They are clearly on a mission to erase the bitter ending to their season last year in the finals. They are determined to come out and not only win but to dominate and win convincingly. “We have experience together after the playoffs last year. We are on a mission to finish what we started lat year and get rid of the bad taste in out mouth from last seasons failure.” Wade said following the win.
If the Knicks plan to make this a series they are going to have the play the defense that is necessary to keep them in the game. All season long the Knicks have been looking for any sort of consistency. This is a matchup they inststed they wanted. Now it’s up the to Knicks to go out and pose a serious threat against the Miami Heat in game 2 if they have any chance of winning this series.