Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Fear the Heat as Dream Is Coming True for LeBron, but Not So In America
In the endless uproar of the evilest villain in sports, the resentful citizens are bashing and deriding LeBron James as a self-centered quitter or a hapless egomaniac, a wannabe superstar who tosses baby powder skyward to awe the crowd. James has been called out for being disloyal to his native state and instantly departing Cleveland. A man can desert the diabolical past, if ever, when he bustled through traffic and diminished Chicago's defensive ferocity, finishing on a timely layup as the intense crowd stood and applauded James.
This time, as James was capping a masterpiece that couldn't have been denied on a night when the Heat rolled to a sentimental 101-93 win, and suddenly, secured a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals, the crowd in South Beach was jolted by his 18-foot jump shot. To call him the biggest enemy in the NBA is to downplay his greatness, insult his ability to rise as an elite star amid the absurdity with James' shocking departure when he left Cleveland for South Beach and decided he'd bring his talent to Miami. For the Heat, a team that Hall of Famer Pat Riley masterfully built a foundation last summer and coax James and Bosh to join Wade to construct the most compelling trio in sports, it would be an indicative of a suggestive win, moving within one win of the NBA Finals.
If we ever felt sorry for James, just because he was ridiculed and crucified by his former supporters, including his former boss Dan Gilbert, it's because he unwisely announced his choice on national television on "The Decision," a one-hour infomercial that enraged many fans in Cleveland and across the world. Whether you like him or hold grudges, weary over the giddy Nike commercial ads featuring James or even his overbearing attitude of the everlasting turmoil keeping his dignified accomplishments veiling, he drilled the 18-footer in the final 30 seconds of overtime. By now, used to the sarcastic jokes and criticism, James continuously quiet down critics with virtuoso performances and swagger, clearly when he ceded his chance of becoming the well-known, iconic ballplayer in the NBA and likely even the best player of all-time by leaving the Cavs to unite with invigorated stars.
It's entirely amazing, given the totality of the marksmanship he brings to the game, just how much the nation refuses to acknowledge and hates James after showing remorse -- apologetic for such a sophomoric escapade. In a forthcoming NBA Finals appearance that looms, if the Heat presents fear throughout the rest of the postseason, such as when James is the distributor assigned the point guard duties and shut down Derrick Rose and Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem scores in double-figures, Miami will be crowned NBA champs in June.
The point is here, nonetheless, is that the Heat are the scariest and hungriest team in the playoffs and knows what's at stake with enough weapons to easily outplay and torment their opponents.
In fairness, we can possibly be gazing at the best roster in the league, depending on the Heat's prowess and readiness of the hottest pursuit in a long time for South Beach. If granted a trip to the finals, the journey would last as long as James and Wade carries the Heat and, more importantly, could validate that the latest experiment of putting together a trio is a workable nucleus for inheriting multiple titles and embarking on a dynasty. The buzz is louder than expected for the Bulls, who are on the brink of elimination, in part of Miami's deepness, self-assurance and fluidity as Chicago will attempt to keep their hopes alive Thursday night at the United Center in Chicago.
That's the case when the Bulls were ever so close to tying the series, but unfortunately, Rose blundered in a jittery point of the game, missing a pair of jumpers in a one-on-one battle with James on the Bulls' final two possessions of regulation. It was over when he bricked a deciding foul shot with the game tired at 85 with 1:10 left in the fourth quarter, finishing with 23 points and missing 19 of 27 shots. As the Heat are one win away from enduring the animosity in much of the nation, beheld as certified scoundrels with James as a member of Miami who is a traitor by many and taunted for leaving the Cavs and, even greater, his pompous and egomaniacal nonsense, the Big Three are close, very close, to stunning and silencing the haters, doubters and critics.
If the Heat wins the hardware this season, not too mention James earning his first ever ring, it would be America's saddest taboo in sports and the most dreadful nightmare. And in truth, the Heat's dream is coming true, faster than usual, when the Three Kings, Three Amigos or whatever you prefer prevailed with all the criticism and adversity early on. In recent years, James has developed when he is demanding the ball in clutch situations, hitting practically decisive shot attempts and when he is defined as a useful hero in South Beach, particularly on a night that he scored 35 points and suffocated the Bulls late with heroics. He is, without much debate, a beloved superstar in Miami, converting on the enormous shots, no longer struggling with his arsenal of shooting but is pushing the Heat near the NBA Finals.
With three straight losses for the first time this season, the Bulls and Rose had fallen short, not ready for the national scene in contending for a championship, although Chicago plays fierce defense and have been craving to arise in the East as the premiere team. At this level, when the Heat is deeper and encountered the young Bulls, it justifies that Miami is much willing, faster and stronger in the Eastern Conference finals.
As it stands, for the Heat, it was a statement win in which Miller turned out with 12 momentous points, buoyed by James and Chris Bosh effortlessly scoring. It was a physical game and, most of all, another splendid night for Bosh, scoring 22 points in an intense victory en route to sustain a championship in one year with the trio experiment. Meanwhile, Wade struggled with shooting the ball for much of the night and had merely 14 points, but Miami can survive each series in the playoffs by the essence of James and Bosh alongside Wade to insert much parity in a gigantic turnaround, one that can have fans and bikini babes celebrating near the shores of South Beach really soon.
Never mind that the Heat made a statement, when nobody expected the Heat to be 8-0 this postseason at home, the only undefeated home team in the playoffs. Never mind that the Heat frightened the world and preserved a 3-1 lead in the series. It's seemingly considerable to think that Erik Spoelstra, despite his hyperbole in press conferences, returns next season as head coach when much speculation vanished of the low-keyed Spoelstra getting canned for numerous episodes with players in the locker room and his strange coaching philosophy.
That is when Miami wasn't unified or playing together and had been adapting to the offense and new teammates. There's no realistic chance for the Bulls to beat the Heat, not the hottest team in the playoffs, not with a player as good as James, Wade or even Bosh, including an elusive bench that seemed believable.
The reality is, Miami is as real as it gets.
Whoever wins the West should be scared of the Heat as neither Oklahoma City or Dallas have the weapons that the Heat possess.