Sometimes I just wish people in sports would remember things that happen two weeks ago in the sport they are watching before they write the obituary on a team, person or coach.
The Boston Celtics, after a grueling 7 game series with the young and spry Philadelphia 76ers, flew down to Miami to begin their series with the Heat. A lot of folks, who were already counting the Celtics out, said that the Heat would win Game 1 and maybe 2. They did, and when the Celtics lost, a lot was talked about their previous series, the age of the players (which has been discussed for 3 years now) etc., etc.
Sure it may have been a foregone conclusion that the Heat should have easily gotten by the aging C’s, but as the great Lee Corso says every Saturday on College Game Day on ESPN…”not so fast my friend”.
The Celtics gave the Heat everything they could have handled…all the way to the 4th quarter of the 7th game of the series. Eventually fatigue and a great defense set in. Oh, and age.
But go back to game 1 of that series. Everyone felt the rested Heat should have beaten the Celtics and they did. However in game 2, when everyone had the same amount of rest..what happened? Overtime, the Heat outlast the Celtics 115-111. Rajon Rondo poured in 44, remember? He had a heck of a game.
Now, should that have been a bad sign for the Heat if they took overtime to beat an aging Celtic team? Maybe, but that’s why they play a best of 7 and not a best of 1 or 3.
Here’s where folks forget recent history so quickly. The Heat get out to a quick start versus the Thunder in game 1, and some people are starting to fall in love with it, and beginning to think the Thunder are overwhelmed. Never mind that Westbrook and Durant admitted to being nervous at the tip. The Miami Heat players are human too. Could adrenaline and excitement have been the cause of them running the offense and defense almost to a “T” in the 1st half, then fatigue being the problem in the 2nd half.
Can’t forget about the extra sme-dium tight rotation as well. James Jones had a migraine and could not help out at all. You really gonna trust Norris Cole out there for a few minutes, versus Westbrook or James Harden, in the NBA Finals? I love Norris Cole, but um..let’s slow down with that.
The rotation, the defensive lapse can all be adjusted. It’s Dwyane Wade and his first half lack of production is the thing that we look to see if it can be adjusted. He is the key to this series. Lebron shows up and gives you what he gives you (30-12-8). Wade sounded pretty defiant in the post game presser saying things like “I’m a winner” and “This was a feel out game”. Ok. We know you’re a winner and I’ll buy the feel out game thing. But it’s not like your first halves have been great D. I’m just saying.
So in closing, as coach Eric Spoelstra said after game 6 in the conference finals, “nobody likes having dirt thrown on their face when they are alive”. The Heat aren’t dead. Yet. Let’s see what happens in Game 2.