Dynasty time in Miami? Not so fast, says Indiana.
For the second straight season, the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals will go to a decisive Game 7. LeBron James and the Miami Heat once again will have to go back home to finish off what has been a pesky team in the Indiana Pacers. But one would think that after Game 5 the series was going to end last night in Indy.
That was the thought until the Birdman, Chris Anderson, was suspended for Game 6 following his purse-swinging shoving match with Tyler Hansbrough. Whether or not his actions warranted a suspension, his presence was missed in the Heat lineup. Anderson’s rebounding ability keeps Miami from being completely dominated by Pacers big men Roy Hibbert and David West. But due to his suspension, the one-time starting center for the Heat Joel Anthony made a surprise appearance after seemingly spending the entire season on the bench with his future self a.k.a. Juwan Howard.
Of course, this proved to be an issue for the Heat. But more so of an issue for Miami was the fact that Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh couldn’t hit a shot to save anyone’s life let alone their own lives. The dynamic duo finished the game 4-19 from the field with Wade finishing with 10 points and Bosh finishing with 5 points.
LeBron had an outstanding game aside from another egregious flop and having one of the funnier hissy-fits in NBA Playoff history.
Pat Riley’s reaction to the call/antics on the court is priceless.
Okay, now that I’ve had my fun, LeBron had a point. Hibbert somewhat leaned into the contact. But after watching all of Game 5 in which Indiana was called for hand-checks while Miami got away with practically mugging both David West and Roy Hibbert all night, LeBron James deserved the foul and the technical.
Aside from his histrionics, James still chipped in 29 points. But the Heat bench didn’t fare so well.
Ray Allen was 2-8 for a whopping 6 points. Shane Battier didn’t attempt a single shot, but he recorded one rebound. Norris Cole scored 9 points and Mike Miller made a guest appearance with two 3-pointers to keep Miami in the game late. But Miller would finish with 6 points.
And how did Joel Anthony, Birdman’s replacement do? He had 2 points. However, he managed to outscore Udonis Haslem, who finished with a goose egg.
The Heat shot a season-worst 36.1% from the field, and they looked anemic for the majority of the second half.
Pundits have made a huge stink over the comments LeBron James uttered after Game 5 when he told the press he went back to his “Cleveland days” to help the team win. After the game, ESPN jumped on the comments by comparing James’ previous teams in Cleveland to this current Miami Heat squad.
And as I worked throughout the day that following Friday morning, I sat back and reveled. For most of this season, especially during the Bulls’ grueling Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Heat, I saw the Heat becoming more and more like LeBron’s old Cleveland teams.
Dwyane Wade is Mo Williams (of the 2010 Cavaliers).
Chris Bosh has morphed into a bad version of…wait Drew Gooden wasn’t undersized.
Udonis Haslem now resembles an under-sized Anderson Varejao.
Ray Allen looks like Daniel “Booby” Gibson (all 3’s and no D).
Nobody on the team is even tall enough to be called any version of Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
And then you have your collection of nobodies on the bench (i.e. Rashard Lewis, James Jones, Joel Anthony, Shannon Brown, Sasha Pavlovic, Wesley Jones, etc.).
When did the Heat become the 2007 Cavaliers?
Not remembering a rant to one of my friends earlier in the season, I found the Cavalier comparisons to be silly. But now I as I think back to those days of yesteryear, I realize that what I thought to be a rant of frustration was actually a moment of clarity.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your 2013 Clevami CavaHeat.
Yes, Miami won the title last year. But in the world of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately sports, the Heat are a glorified version of LeBron’s old Cavs teams.
As much as I hate the Pacers, you have to give them credit. Roy Hibbert is playing out of his mind along with Paul George, and the team has won all season without their “star” Danny Granger. Frank Vogel is out-coaching Erik Spoelstra, and the Pacers are dominating Miami on the boards. So yes, give credit to those pesky Pacers.
But on the other hand, this Miami team is no champion. They are no dynasty. This is a team that, despite their humble words to the press, feels entitled to win that second ring. They have slept-walked through stretches of the regular season and have relied heavily on the play of LeBron James.
But don’t be fooled. The Heat haven’t lost consecutive games since January. This team will be in the Finals come Tuesday morning after the dust is settled from Game 7. Yet even with a rusty and old Spurs team awaiting them, the Heat are not at all in the position they wanted to be for a shot at defending their title.
This overrated team will have to first win a Game 7 they allowed to happen, and then run into the experienced and hungry San Antonio Spurs.
It will not be a repeat of the 2007 Finals, but the Spurs are smacking their lips.
Miami is looking more like lunch as every minute of this Eastern Conference Finals passes.