Shaquille O’Neal Refers To Miami As “The Big 2”

~ Shaquille O’Neal isn’t wasting anytime getting adjusted to his new career as an NBA analyst. O’Neal is going to be expected to do very in his new role for Turner Sports because he’s not afraid to tell it how he sees it. So how does Shaq see The Big 3 of the Miami Heat?

 According to O’Neal, we all might want to subtract 1 from that equation and call it The Big 2. The recently retired NBA center with four championships was on NBA-TV and while he had good things to say about Dywane Wade and LeBron James, O’Neal made no mention of Chris Bosh.

 Can we really conclude that O’Neal was wrong in his assessment of the Heat? Not really.

 Bosh came in last season with James to form the Big 3 with Wade and it didn’t take very long to figure out that the Heat were going to go as far as Wade and James took them. Bosh was quickly shifted into the role as the best 3rd option in the league and most likely that will be his role on that team going forward.

 Bosh was never apart of the post game press conferences with Wade and James which was possibly the most revealing of his role on the team.

 While O’Neal laughed off any notion that he was trying to start trouble with those comments, he was accurate in his analysis of Miami heading into next season. The thought of him and Charles Barkley in the Turner Studio at the same time commenting on games in their normally blunt manner is going to be must-see television.

 As for Miami, the bottom line will be determined by what Wade and James do on the court. Bosh will be a key to their success, just not in the high profile role of the “Big 2”.

The NBA Finals > We’ve Got A Series … More Lessons Learned For Miami

 

~ I try not to blog or post during a playoff series because the ups and downs of a game can be too much at times and unpredictable. The 2010-2011 Dallas Mavericks make it very hard to stay with that plan. They did it again. Trailing Miami by 15 points in the 4th quarter with a little over 7 minutes to play, Dallas stormed back and stunned the Heat to win Game 2 of The Finals 95-93.

 

The series is now tied at 1-1 and now heads to Texas for 3 straight games. It’s possible now that Dallas wont have to come back to Miami to win the NBA title.

 

Dirk Nowitzki did it again, scoring the last 9 points of the game for Dallas. The game winner was a left handed layup … the same non-shooting left hand that has a torn tendon in it from Game 1.

 

This series is and will continue to be one that gets analyzed to death. However, it still comes down to execution and which team is mentally tougher. In Game 1, Miami executed better. In Game 2, Dallas was the mentally tougher team.

 

Throughout this game, LeBron James and Dywane Wade ran up a highlight film full of dunks and big shots. When Wade hit that three to put Miami up by 15 points, it clearly looked like the game was over.

 

Lately that’s the way it has gone for Miami, play big time defense throughout the night, then pull away in crunch time with the younger and fresher legs of their two closers. After Wade hit the three though, the defense stopped and the offense lost it’s rhythm.

 

 Dallas has shown throughout the post season that they will not just pack it up and go home. They had more poise and stepped up with the big plays when it mattered most. They played like an experienced playoff team. A mentally tough one.

 

 It would be easy to say that Miami gave this game away. It’s a valid conclusion to draw. It’s a lesson learned for a team that is still learning to play together in situations they have never been in before as a team.

 

The point was made on NBATV by Charles Barkley that Miami should’ve handled this better because they’ve been on this championship level before. That was a completely different Miami team though. This team is being tested in every way possible this year and even though it hurts, they needed a loss like this one. Adversity always comes up when the road seems like it’s getting easier. It’s how Miami reacts in Game 3 that may determine how the rest of the series goes.

 

If you’re a Dallas fan, you should be happy that your team showed you what they didn’t showed you in Game 1. The role players stepped up. Shawn Marion and Jason Terry were steady enough throughout long enough to help Dirk Nowitzki unlike in Game 1. They also took Miami’s best punches throughout three quarters and were able to get off the ropes and recover.

 

If you’re a Miami fan, hope they continue to play great team defense. It opens up the way for those fast breaks when Miami is at their best on offense. They also need Chris Bosh to step up and be that weapon he was in the conference finals. Three games in Dallas coming up, Bosh is from Dallas. It would be pretty interesting to see if he’s able to take full advantage of the obvious moment that wil be presented for him.

 

 Dirk’s game winning layup looked almost too easy. We can second guess that Udonis Haslem should have been guarding him, however  Bosh should’ve played him better than he did. Miami also had a foul to give and basically forgot about it. Give Dirk credit for being aggresive enough to take it to the basket and not only did he score, he scored with the left hand … the injured left hand that some wondered might be a problem.

 

I still think this series is going seven games, the first two games showed why for different reasons. The stats are the stats, and the superstars are on the court. These first two games showed that it still comes down to mental toughness and execution.

NBA Playoffs > One Big Step for Miami & One Bigger Step for LeBron James

 

~ One big step for the Miami Heat and one bigger step for LeBron James. For this one night watching the Miami Heat, we “can’t knock da hustle”. The Heat eliminated the Boston Celtics from the playoffs to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. They will now await the winner of the Atlanta Hawks-Chicago Bulls series. For the Heat, it was a dramatic ending to a series they needed to win for a number of  reasons that go beyond just advancing to the next round. It wasn’t Dywane Wade closing the show out for the Heat though, it was the man most love to hate … LeBron Raymone James. 

Before I even go any further with this post though, congrats to the Boston Celtics. They went out like champions which is unlike how the defending champion Lakers bowed out to Dallas over in the west. The Celtics were badly outmanned, and had to face a team that was just as hungry however had younger legs than them. This series saw Rajon Rondo give everything he had despite dislocating his elbow. It also saw the possible end of Shaquille O’Neal’s great NBA career. The mind and heart may have wanted to give more, the body just would not allow it though. This was very much like a heavyweight fight and Boston being the old, savy, and crafty veterans were not going to go down easily. Their legacy is implanted firmly though as the original “Big 3” and a championship team.

The way Miami finished Boston off was a script made for Hollywood. A 16-0 run to close out a game they trailed most of. The last 10 points scored by LeBron James. That stat alone is as strong a sub-plot as there has been this season in the NBA. As Miami went through their struggles to gel together as a team, James was dealing with adversity over not being able to close out a game. The irony now to see James not only close out the game for Miami, he also puts the dagger in the Boston Celtics run in the playoffs. It was as fitting a closure to the last 12 months for James as one can possibly get. The journey is not over for him and Miami, they still are 8 wins away from the ultimate goal, a championship. However, they deserve the moment right now.

 

Dywane Wade realized he needed help in Miami this year if he was going to get out of the first round. James realized he needed help that Cleveland didn’t have to get past the Celtics. After years of barely making the playoffs in Toronto, Chris Bosh realized he needed LeBron James and Dywane Wade. We all don’t have to like how this all went about coming together in South Beach. There will always be criticism to eqaul whatever acheivments they accomplish. At the end of the day, the bottom line is what matters. For the Miami Heat and LeBron James, the bottom line was:

  • Becoming a Basketball Team and not just a collection of NBA talent and the 2 best players in the world.

 

  • Defeating the Boston Celtics. It would not have the same effect, had it been the Knicks, or the Magic … it had to be Boston.

 

  • Winning an NBA Championship.

 

They took the first two steps and now all that’s left is that one last one.

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