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.

Cavs Get Destroyed vs Lakers & The Lebron Twitter Response

 

~ December 2nd, 2010 wasn’t exactly a memorable day for me personally. I got up, went to work, came home, and went to bed. For the most part, a normal Thursday for me. I did however watch a basketball game that night after coming home. When I look back at the Cleveland Cav’s and Miami Heat, I think of December 2nd.

The Miami Heat were expected to start the season at least 19-0  with the way the team was promoted going into the season … they didn’t. 19 games into the season Miami was 11-8 heading into the month of December and a game which would serve as Lebron James first time back in Cleveland since “the decision”. The signs were beginning to show that the Heat were beginning to crack under the pressure at that time. The game was played and the result would send both teams into completely different directions. The 118-90 Miami win over Cleveland ignited Lebron and his two superstar teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, they learned how to play together all of sudden. The tweets on twitter all of sudden supported it’s young head coach Eric Spolestra and called off the Pat Riley watch. The Heat went on to win 13 of it’s next 14 games to close out the month. The winning has carried over into the new year, winning it’s first 5 games of January and currently have a  9 game winning streak.

The Cleveland Cavs have not been the same since that December 2nd loss to Miami. Every now and then watching sports you can see when the confidence clearly leaves a team. Before that game, Cleveland was playing decent basketball.The regular season started and surprisingly, without James the Cav’s were playing like a team that you could actually sit down and watch without your hand on the remote control. That loss on December 2nd however clearly looked like  a 20 point loss reality check instead of a bump on the road. The Cav’s are no longer Lebron James and the Cleveland Cav’s. They are now just the Cav’s. In a league where the top teams are considered superpowers, the Cav’s were back to being … ordinary. Cleveland went on to lose 13 of it’s next 14 games to close out the month. The losing has carried over into the new year, losing it’s first 6 games of January. It can’t get any lower than the most recent loss in Los Angeles to the defending champion Lakers.

I’m sitting on my sofa at home reading my Twitter timeline and remember that the Lakers game is on. I’m not exactly in a hurry to watch any of this game, however I decide to check on the score … it’s the start of the third quarter and all anyone would need to know is that the Cav’s only had 25 points by that point. In case you’re not too caught up in NBA 101 … if your team has 25 points after 2 quarters of basketball then most likely you’re team isn’t very good. Cleveland went on to lose this game obviously, 112-57.  The reason I mentioned my Twitter timeline is because that is where I go to see some of the funniest comments and feedback from others and of course I figured an NBA team scoring only 57 points in a game might fit that profile.

Twitter can be many things during the course of a day. It can be entertaining, it can be informative, it can also be annoying & become someone’s credibility killer. Lebron James has been a subject of focus on Twitter since news first broke that he was joining the social network site. James rightfully deserves that attention. We all watched last summer as James was the main topic in sports for his free agent move from Cleveland to South Beach. Some (myself included) were highly critical of this move as James aligned himself with two NBA  premier superstars to pursue an NBA championship. Whenever something happens involving a high profile celebrity, it manages to find it’s way to Twitter.

The downfall of the Cleveland Cav’s always is going to be linked to Lebron James. After the loss to the Lakers, a tweet was posted from James twitter page  …

        “Crazy. Karma is a b****.. Gets you every time. Its not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!”

Who is Lebron tweeting about? Alright thats not exactly a good question. Not when you consider the last 6 months between Lebron James, the Cleveland Cav’s, it’s fans, and the team owner Dan Gilbert. It was Gilbert who responded to James ESPN promoted “decision” to announce he was leaving for Miami, by nationally thanking James for nothing. I didn’t agree with Gilbert for that move and the way he did it. He was right to be upset and frustrated at losing the main piece of his franchise. Dan Gilbert didn’t win any fans over by boasting his team would win an NBA title before James does. It came off as childish, inmature, bitter and put a spotlight on a team that is nowhere near the team it was when James was a member of it. However, he is still an owner of a professional basketball team. Maybe you can make the case that if the belief in Karma is involved, then Gilbert and his team had it coming. The case can also be made that Lebron James and Dan Gilbert both are on a two-way street built on Karma.

I look back at the Lebron James tweet and I can’t help but think that if this is about Karma … Miami is gonna have a short stay in the playoffs.James is arguably the best NBA player in the world. I use the word arguably because of his choice to align with two superstars in Miami. I use the word arguably because James didn’t show up in those last two games he wore a Cav’s uniform. He didn’t show up to be the best that night. Possibly one foot already out the door and pointed towards South Beach. I say arguably the best in the world because reportedly he didn’t even give the Cav’s a goodbye phone call to let them know he was leaving and that his mind was made up. The team that drafted him, the team he grew up watching not far away in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. The Cav’s might as well got a gold watch from Lebron and a pat on the back thanking them for there services. The saying goes perception is reality, and how did it look to Cleveland fans to see James not only go to Miami but then go on tv posing for pictures in his new uniform with Wade and Bosh. How about those Cleveland fans who have Twitter and read his tweets celebrating the move?  James is quick now to let everyone know now he does not mind being the villain or the bad guy. It’s easy though to do that when your new team is 30-9 and dominating the league as expected. Dan Gilbert is paying for his mistakes last summer. The Cav’s are paying for his mistakes as well. Lebron James might want to be careful with his words going forward or we could be saying the same thing in June about the Miami Heat … “Karma is a B*tch”.

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