The big three were waving to the fans in South Beach after “The Decision,” landing LeBron James and Chris Bosh in the same offseason. They also resigned Dwyane Wade, who teamed up with the great Pat Riley to reel in the big fish. They waved as they promised multiple championships and danced on stage. Nearly a year later, they were favorites to beat the Dallas Mavericks in the finals. They waved at their Eastern Conference foes and victims, then waved the white flag and falling to Dallas in 6 games.
The Miami Heat didn’t wave after a must-win game 6 in Boston. They know what’s at stake. They were built to win now, and anything but a championship is unacceptable. It’s the totality of the storyline. Big time players, big time talk.
Here’s what we know about game 7: LeBron James and Rajon Rondo will show up and do their thing, that’s just what they do. Boston has a coaching advantage with Doc Rivers, and the game will be played in Miami.
LeBron James: “This was a gut check for us, and it’s good to see we were able to bounce back after that loss, after that Game 5 loss at home.”
Doc Rivers: “I hope now you guys can stop talking about LeBron and he doesn’t play in big games. He was pretty good tonight. So we can put that to bed and go play Game 7.”
Everything At Stake
Approaching the finals and on the brink of a new champion being crowned, everybody’s banged up to some degree. Dwyane Wade and Paul Pierce enduring knee issues, Chris Bosh and his abdomen, Mike Miller hasn’t been healthy all year, Avery Bradley is out, and prayers out to Jeff Green with a heart condition. That’s just in this series, not to mention what the Bulls and Knicks had to deal with, and that’s just covering 4 teams.
It’s going to be a physical and competitive game 7 featuring a handful of future hall of fame players. The past and all the accolades speak for itself, but to say yesterday has no bearing on this deciding game, well a lot hinges on the conclusion of game 7.
This could be the last run for the Boston Celtics team as we know it. A few years ago their big three was assembled on draft night. They drafted a young leader, winning a title in two appearances. If the Celtics find a way to defeat the Heat and slay OKC, why wouldn’t Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen go out on a high note? It’s one thing to have something left in the tank and be a role player trying to win another ring, but those two or even Paul Pierce for that matter, what better way is there to end a successful career? Doc Rivers is a tremendous coach and although he appears to have several years ahead of his coaching career, who’s to say he won’t step away to be the family man that he is, and also watch his son Austin’s career? The Duke guard is a projected first-round prospect in the upcoming draft. For someone else, say Rajon Rondo, his early success and taking the reins of a franchise will launch his career onto a different platform.
As for the Heat, this could be the end of the line. Coach Erik Spoelstra, his position and future may be on the line here. If not now, then his fate will be determined in the near future, for better or for worse. Dwyane Wade continues to be assertive, but his durability is rapidly declining and it has affected his play in the past few postseasons. Chris Bosh may be given some slack. His injury revealed to the basketball world what I’ve said since day one, that he would be the x-factor if Miami was going to win a title(s). His shot attempts have diminished in comparison to his days in Toronto, but the “third wheel” could be on the outs. The future is up in the air in general for both teams, but Bosh needs to be productive in this game 7 and in the finals if they get there. The role players are what they are, Miami bet large on three stars and they heavily lean on 3-time MVP LeBron James. James will get more than his fair share of credit and criticism, such a polarizing figure like some other athletes: Tim Tebow, Barry Bonds, and John Cena.
If Miami were to lose, many including myself, believe that they will make major changes to the franchise. The details and scenarios are wild at this point and pure speculation, so I’ll save my deep thoughts on that topic for a day more relevant. Needless to say, you, me, everyone all the way to OKC, will be tuned in to…GAME 7!