OKLAHOMA CITY, June 22, 2012 — What was supposed to be an epic NBA Final series turned out to be not that epic. There were many story lines going into the series. Could LeBron finally win a championship?Are the Thunder the next dynasty? Will Chris Bosh star in Jurassic Park IV?
The Miami Heat played an almost flawless series outside of the Game 1 loss, and were able to take the crown in five games.
There is a very good chance that these two teams could give us a Lakers/Celtics like run from the 80’s for the next 10 years. But for now, the Heat are the best team in basketball.
Here a few things that we learned from the series:
Chris Bosh is good.
Of the “Big 3,” Bosh always got the most criticism of not deserving superstar status, but he was fabulous in the Finals. He was able to hit outside shots, pull down offensive rebounds and show more emotion than anyone on the Heat. He deserves a lot of credit and the Heat are a better team when he is on the floor.
Kevin Durant does not get superstar calls.
NBA refs will swear that they don’t call games differently for stars. But they do. Durant, for whatever reason, never really got any of those calls. Sure, calls were missed on both sides, but there were times when Wade looked like he was living a redo of the 2006 Finals, where if you breathed on him they called it. LeBron got plenty of calls, but Durant never really did.
Russell Westbrook can be the best player on the floor and the most frustrating.
Westbrook’s 43-point Game 4 loss is one of the best Finals games ever played. After being criticized for shooting too much, he came back and threw it in everybody’s face. He couldn’t miss. He kept taking it to the basket, pulling up and hitting. He could do anything. And the Thunder still lost. Had the Thunder won the series there is an argument he was the MVP.
The Thunder are really young.
We thought this wouldn’t matter. They looked like the better team leading up to the championship series. People were calling the Spurs one of the greatest teams of all time, and the Thunder beat them. Durant is 23, Westbrook and James Harden are 22. Those are their three best players and they aren’t old enough to rent a car. We all thought that age wouldn’t matter, but it did. There isn’t one play that shows it, but several plays in each game that add up to a loss. Silly plays that shouldn’t happen and won’t when they play this series again.
And finally … LeBron is the player we all wanted him to be.
Hate him all you want, but he is the best player in the world. All the criticism he received came at him for a reason. He turned his back on his home state, he hasn’t been clutch and he has disappeared when it looked like a foregone conclusion that he would get a ring. But most of all he took the easy way out, and that’s not what we want. We want him to do it on his own. We want him to have that fire. To be Jordan, to be Kobe. To say to other players, “You come with me, I’m not going to play with you.”
But he came through. Sure, it’s with that Miami Heat team that we thought was the easy way out, but he was clearly the best player. He never looked scared, he never looked like he was going to choke. He had unlikely help from guys like Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier.
This could be scary for the league. He could either be like Jordan and reel off several championships in a row, or he could be Wilt Chamberlain and be the most imposing player in the league and only win a couple.
Either way, he finally has his ring. Maybe it’s with the wrong team. Maybe it’s a few years too late. But he has it, and he deserves it.
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