Heat burnout in Game 6 of NBA Finals
This post is a little dated. The Dallas Mavericks won the NBA Finals on Sunday, June 12, 2011 and this post is being published nearly one week later. But I needed some time to mourn the loss of the Miami Heat who had endured mountains of criticism after LeBron James made his announcement to move to Miami after seven seasons with Cleveland. An arrogant television airing of his announcement, a pompous press conference and a series of losses that followed the move gave everyone a reason to hate the Heat. I overlooked everything that had happened because I focused only on the caliber of play Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh displayed leading up to the NBA Finals. There was no doubt in my mind that James and Bosh deserved their first titles and Wade deserved his second. They defeated former Eastern Conference Final Champions, the Boston Celtics, and NBA MVP Derek Rose and the Chicago Bulls. They dominated the fourth quarter of every game completely taking control of every possession, sinking clutch shots, playing suffocating defense and dunking in the face of every opponent.
So what happened during the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks? The Heat were facing the underdogs of the Western Conference who created headlines by defeating the reigning NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers in a four game sweep. They went on to face the young Oklahoma City Thunder, whom many thought would defeat the older, and at times, slower Dallas team. The Mavericks became the comeback kids in a defining Game 4 that would have tied the series for the Thunder. But Dallas came back from a 15-point deficit late in the fourth quarter to force overtime. They went on to win that game 112-105.
Which leads us back to the NBA Finals. Pitted against each other are the Miami Heat, who took the fourth quarter by the horns and broke each team down, and the Dallas Mavericks, the comeback kids who rallied in the fourth quarters to win some close games. The comeback kids won the battle of Games 2 and 4 with some amazing late comebacks. In Game 2, the Mavericks staged a comeback after falling into a 15-point hole and climbing out to win 95-93. Game 4, the Mavericks fought back after the Heat took the early in the fourth quarter. The Mavs went on a 21-9 run to win the game 86-83.
The Mavericks won Game 5 and 6 and defeated the Heat 4-2 in the series to win the franchise’s first NBA Title. The Heat’s loss gives people even more of a reason to hate them. A championship would have silenced the haters and given them a reason to believe in the Heat. LeBron, Wade and Bosh will have to endure more trash talking and criticism by fans and sportscasters until next season when they can try again for the Title. However, LeBron will endure the most hate. He fell flat in the NBA Finals. People have said he flopped, even though he contributed good numbers in Games 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. His numbers were good, but they weren’t championship caliber numbers. His performance in Game 4 was abysmal; he only scored 8 points the entire game. For a player that promised his fans 8 championships and has recently been compared to his airness, Michael Jordan, LeBron certainly did not live up to the standards of those that supported him and rooted for him. Wade performed, Bosh performed, and LeBron choked. Even with a triple double recorded in the Game 6 loss, we will only remember that LeBron promised a championship and did not deliver.