Thursday, June 14, 2012
Behind The Scoreboard
LeBron lifts the Heat
The conference finals turned a little sour for yours truly last week when half of my prediction was banished.
With the defeat of the San Antonio Spurs by the OKC Thunder, the rafters shook a little. Not taking anything away from the Thunder, it was inconceivable that the Spurs would be taken out in less than seven games.
While OKC was resting on its laurels and awaiting the announcement of the next opponent, the Eastern Conference finals were in their last days. The Heat had experienced a slight setback in the first three games. Well, sports fans and all the ships at sea (or wherever), the Heat came back in fine fashion over the weekend with the team moving a step closer to helping LeBron James complete his mission.
In a conference playoff series which saw road wins to be as scarce as hen’s teeth, King James made the goal and nets his personal throne in game six. His high-flying performance of 45 points astounded almost everyone and went a long way to demoralizing the Shamrock camp. One has to hand out a lot of accolades to the Heat’s mentor. Erik Spoelstra has a youthful look and persona, but his courtside management tactics are solid as Gibraltar or some other big rock. He gave Chris Bosh 15 minutes in game five, 28 in game six and in game seven he took the blinders off. The third pinnacle of the triumvirate was fully back. He and his two cohorts held out the carrot to Boston and then snatched it back. Needless to say there won’t be an 18th banner hoisted to the rafters in the TD Garden – not this year, anyway.
On the flip side, you must also give Boston some props. And to start at the very top of the list one would have to insert Kevin Garnett. He led the Celtics throughout their playoff series with an average of 19.2 points per game. Consider also that he was in his 17th season, his first with the Celtics. Right behind him were Paul Pierce (18.9) and Rajon Rondo (17.3). They provided the Heat with a formidable challenge; however, there was an omen to be considered: Boston hadn’t won a playoff game seven since 1977. There is some doubt about the Boston bunch being intact for another season. If it ain’t broke…….
Now that we now know who will be the OKC Thunder’s next foe, how about a quick trio of trivia questions? How long has the Thunder been the Thunder and who were they before? In a former life were they ever NBA champs? And if they were champs, who was their coach?
If you answered, five years, Seattle Super Sonics, 1977 and Lennie Wilkins, your school days are over!
The question now is, and it ain’t trivial, who is going to win the next best of seven? The first clue was on display Tuesday night (of this week).
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