Time winding down... 2.3 seconds left... Heat with the ball... Inbound pass goes to James, Paul George guarding... but wait, George steps to close to James... The MVP of the league has beaten that defense in his sleep... Drives on George and lays the ball in the hoop. Buzzer sounds, game called 103-102 Heat win. Only one player for the Indiana Pacers recorded a block (well two) up to that point in the game, Roy Hibbert. Now where was he on that last play, Pacers Coach Frank Vogel took him out and let him sit on the bench. WHY?! Now we know that that single decision may have taken away the Pacers chance at winning the series.
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That being said, if Pacers win Game one, there is no way of knowing that the series would take the same route. This column is not about the Pacers though, it's about the Heat and James, specifically.
Throughout the series with the Pacers, James lead the way averaging 29 points per game, 5.3 assists per game, and 7.3 rebounds per game. What most people care about is the points scored. Not me, LeBron wasn't just the high flying, point scoring, in-your-face player I have come to dislike. He was much more than that. LeBron was scoring like Kobe, he was passing like Magic Johnson, he was rebounding like Shaq. If there has been anyone who kept the Heat alive, it has been James.
People and friends know that I personally do not like LeBron, however, I think it comes down to the amount of media coverage he receives. Is he a great player? Absolutely. Is he the best player in the NBA right now? Arguable, but yes. I do not like all the comparisons to who he is like, I don't care if he is like Kobe or Michael Jordan. I know I just used comparisons, but it was for effect not to say he was those players. I want to look at James as his own entity, his own player.
James has been outstanding in the NBA Playoffs so far, but now he faces an opponent that has experience, wisdom and they have defeated James in The Finals before. The San Antonio Spurs look to defeat James again like they did in 2007. To say that the "supporting cast" around him is much better is an understatement. However, his supporting cast did almost cost him a chance at a second straight title.
This series is a tough one to gauge. If the Spurs are going to win, I think they have to do it in five or six games. In The Finals, the games are played in a 2-3-2 format. Meaning the first two games will be played in Miami, the next three in San Antonio and the final two in Miami. The last three games are scheduled "as necessary" because it technically could be over in four games. Anyway, I think the Spurs have to win in five because I think the Spurs can steal one game at Miami, and then win the three games in San Antonio. However, if the series gets to six games that's where I am concerned for the Spurs. If Miami can get back home (should they need it), the Spurs will have little chance to win that late in a series.
Home-court is vital in the Playoffs, and Miami is one of the best arenas for the Heat. If Miami wins the first two games, I see the series going seven games to Miami. It will be tough for either team to win the series and with it an NBA Championship. King James may sit on the Eastern Conference throne, but now he will battle to return to the ultimate throne, sitting atop the NBA.
Can he do it? We'll see. I've got the Heat in 6. LeBron as the Finals MVP.