Posts Tagged ‘NBA Finals’

heat fans suckThe Miami Heat pulled off a spectacular come from behind victory in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. It was a comeback for the ages. Too bad a good portion of the fans who showed up did not get to see it.

Some people in attendance started streaming out of American Airlines Arena with a few minutes left in the game. It was amazing to see fans abandon their team when they still had a chance. And even if they didn’t, you should stay till the end. That’s what being a fan is all about.

And once those alleged fans were outside and realized that the Heat were coming back and sent the game into overtime they tried desperately to get let back in the arena. Luckily, security did not let them back in. Those bastards didn’t deserve to see what their team accomplished.

Victor Oquendo, a sports anchor for WPLG, live tweeted the whole sorry event.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows a frequently refer to Heat supporters as “fans.” I add the quotation marks because in my opinion most of them are not true fans. They are a bunch of bandwagoners who followed LeBron James to South Beach. I continually challenge said “fans” to tell me who Tim Hardaway is and I have yet to find one who can tell me without Googling it first.

So pay attention Heat “fans” this is why you are hated, not because your team is so great. You are hated because you suck.

People hate LeBron James. I mean really hate LeBron James.

They hate the fact that he left Cleveland. They hate “The Decision.” They hate that he went to Miami and teamed up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in order to win a title. And they sure are going to hate it when he wins his first championship.

He’s going to win a championship. The Miami Heat are one win away from winning the NBA Finals.

It’s going to happen.

But the people that hate him are in a shrinking group. Mostly located in Northeast Ohio. LeBron has won a lot of people over with his play this season. Myself included. I’m certainly not going to become one of the slobbering LeBron Apologists that can see no wrong in what he does, even when he does wrong. And I’m not a bandwagon fan who sees that he is about to win a championship and wants get a bit of his shine.

I’m a sports fan and there is no better storyline than that of redemption. And that is what LeBron James has done this season. He’s redeemed himself.

He has had an incredible regular season and a spectacular post-season. He was the league MVP and he will be the Finals MVP. And he has pretty much kept his mouth shut and not said anything stupid and egotistical like last season. There have been no lame routines with his team mates like in seasons past. He’s playing like a professional. He’s playing with purpose.

America loves a comeback, and LeBron has made a great comeback this season. It’s going to be interesting to see how the rest of the media will portray LeBron after the Finals. I’m sure ESPN will continue to slobber all over him as usual. They will probably even take a victory lap. But will the rest see the changed person that I and others have seen? I hope so.

Will the fans that hated him finally give him some credit? I’m sure some will. Winning has a tendency make people like you.

LeBron James has been through one hell of a journey. He went from most loved to most hated faster than any celebrity ever has.

I hope this season hasn’t only changed the perception of LeBron but I hope it has also changed him as well.

The annual NBA passion play is about to start. I’m talking, of course, about the NBA Finals. This years version has the Miami Heat reprising their role as villain and the OKC Thunder will step in as the basketball savior.

The story goes something like this: the Heat are the basketball equivalent of the Death Star, wreaking havoc throughout the NBA Universe. If they are allowed to win an NBA title all hell will break loose and their reign of terror will last forever. Everything that is good and holy is at stake.

The Miami Heat has assembled a team of mercenaries with a singular focus: bring a title home to the Evil Empire…I mean South Beach. They have stockpiled a team of supreme talent fragile egos that has been the scourge of the NBA. The OKC Thunder, on the other hand, has quietly built a championship-caliber the old fashioned way, through the draft and nurturing young talent.

Its a classic tale of good and evil, right and wrong.

Kevin Durant has to step in as hero and destroy the Heat. Sure, he is young and this is his first Finals and its not fair to put the fate of the entire basketball universe on his shoulders but that’s what makes for great drama. Luckily, he has help. Russell Westbrook and James Harden (along with the bench) will put their stamp on this series but it will be Durant who will lead the Thunder to the championship.

Make no mistake, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the Dark Side will not go down easily. They will fight till the end. Unless LeBron has another 4th quarter disappearing act like last year this series could easily go seven games. And that would be some great drama.

I just hope that one game we can see the Thunder in their white uniforms and the Heat in their all black ones. That would let even the most casual fan know who is who.

I am looking forward to watching this drama unfold before me and I’m pulling for the good guys to win. That’s why I’m picking the Rebel Alliance…err…the OKC Thunder to win in 6 games.

May the Force be with us.

I know the NBA Conference Finals have barely started but I want to skip ahead and talk about the NBA Finals.

It seems pretty obvious to me that the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are going to win their series. I don’t want to disparage the Boston Celtics or the Oklahoma City Thunder by already writing them off but I can’t see it turning out any other way. (Okay, maybe I wanted to disparage the Celtics a little bit.)

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are playing at such a high level its almost scary. They aren’t getting too much out of the rest of the team but so far they haven’t needed it. They will need it when they meet up with the Spurs in the Finals, though.

And that’s where the problems will start. The Spurs are just too good and too deep to be beaten. The Heat will not be able to keep Tim Duncan out of the paint and no one has had an answer for Manu Ginobili. It also doesn’t hurt that they have one of the best point guards in the league with Tony Parker.

LeBron and DWade will have to score 80 combined points each game if the Heat are to have a chance to beat the Spurs. And I just don’t see that happening. That’s why I’m picking the Spurs to win in 6 games.

I know it seems odd that I’m willing to ignore the Conference Finals happening right now but the Heat and Spurs seem so far ahead of the competition they are bound to meet in the Finals. I hate to spoil the playoff for you but this is what’s going to happen.

The 2011 NBA Finals is now tied at 2 games apiece. The Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat are putting on a great show for all the fans. Every game seems to come down to the last possession, making for great theater. Some people are even asking if this is the best Finals in the last decade.

But the real question on everybody’s mind is; “Where is LeBron James?”

It was only a few weeks ago that Scottie Pippen was saying he is a better player than Michael Jordan and now people are ready to put his face on the back of a milk carton.

On the biggest stage of his career LeBron has come up small. After playing 46 minutes and only scoring eight points in Game 4 of the Finals people are beginning to wonder if he has what it takes to be a true champion.

To be fair, James has had great playoffs so far. After dominating late in games against the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls people were beginning to talk about how clutch LeBron had become. It seemed like he was finally ready to be crowned “King James.”  But something funny happened on the way to the coronation. Namely, LeBron stopped playing. At least in the fourth quarter of the Finals. So far in the first four games of the Finals LeBron has a combined 12 fourth quarter points. Those numbers are certainly not Jordanesque.

The one player in this series who has earned the right to be compared to Jordan has been Dwayne Wade. He has been dominant in the fourth quarter and has carried the Heat throughout the Finals. He’s been the one closing out games while LeBron fades into the backdrop.

Fans and media alike are starting to bring up Game 5 against the Boston Celtics from last year’s playoffs. It was widely believed that LeBron, then with the Cleveland Cavaliers, simply gave up during that game and used it as an excuse to leave Cleveland. People may now look at that as just another example of LeBron not being able to handle the pressure of a big game.

He came to Miami to win a championship and he very well may do it this year. The Heat still have a great chance to win this series. Two of the last three games will be played in Miami. But what happens if LeBron continues to play poorly and still get a ring? Will he be happy to be playing the Scottie Pippen role instead of the Michael Jordan role?

It will be interesting to see if the Heat can win a championship not because of LeBron but in spite of him.

America loves a winner. From “Rocky” to the 1980 USA Olympic Hockey Team. We love winners. Short of (allegedly) murdering your ex-wife and a waiter, we are willing to forgive a lot as long as you win. We love winners more than we love ourselves. Once you are a champion we will gladly welcome you into our hearts.

After the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals only one question remains: Is America ready for Ron Artest?

We all remember where we were when the name “Ron Artest” first came into our collective consciousness. It was November 19, 2004. The Indiana Pacers were visiting the Detroit Pistons. With less than a minute left in the game, whose outcome had already been decided, Artest and Detroit center Ben Wallace got into an altercation. That fight led to a Detroit fan throwing a drink at Atrest. Ron snapped and went into the stands and started swinging. More Pacer players followed him and a full scale riot broke out.

The fighting even spilled onto the floor. It was probably the worst day in the history of the NBA.

The fallout was quick and swift. In all, nine players were suspended without pay, with Artest getting the worst of it. He was suspended for the remainder of the season. Legal charges were filed against Artest and others. Ron pleaded “no contest” and was sentenced to one year of probation, 60 hours of community service, a $250 fine and was required to attend anger management classes.

Most people pointed the finger at Ron. This was all his fault. He was crazy, uncontrollable. Commentators went so far as saying he should be banned for life. Fans wanted him in jail.

Ron Artest had become the Most Hated Man in Sports.

Fast forward to June 17, 2010. Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Ron Artest is the only bright spot for the Los Angeles Lakers. While Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol were struggling to get any kind of offense going, it was Artest who was carrying the team. He was the leading scorer in the first half. He was playing great defense against Pau Pierce. With 1:02 to go in the game he hits what will probably go down as the biggest shot of his career; a three pointer that put the Lakers up 79-73. The best part about that shot was Ron Ron running back on defense and blowing kisses to the crowd. Classic.

Throughout this season Ron took an incredible amount of criticism from fans and media alike. Many people were saying that the Lakers would rue the day they did not re-sign Trevor Ariza. And with every missed three pointer, every blown defensive assignment and every mistake Artest made those voices grew louder and louder.

Make no mistake about it, if the Lakers would have lost Game 7 the blame would have come down squarely on the shoulders of Ron Artest.  And let’s face it; he had four really horrible games. The Boston Celtics were playing off him every game, daring him to shoot. Even at home, every time he would launch a three pointer you could hear the crowd scream “Nooooooooooo!”

But in the biggest game, on the biggest stage, Ron Artest stepped up and played like a champion. He single handedly saved the Lakers season, Kobe’s legacy and the city’s pride. Ron Ron was the MVP of Game 7.

It’s amazing what winning a championship can do for a person. All of a sudden, all those traits that you used to think were strange or even repulsive now become quirky, even endearing. Winning forgives a lot of sins. It’s always been that way. In six short years Ron Artest has gone from social outcast to the King of LA.

America, say hello to the new Ron Artest; eccentric, savior, champion.