Your Miami Heat are once again NBA Champions. With seemingly most of the media rooting against them, Miami dispatched the favored Oklahoma City Thunder in five games with a 121-106 victory Thursday night. The Thunder were supposed to be the deeper, more complete team. I call shenanigans on the top-heavy OKC. It seems the Thunder have two guys who can score the ball and a bunch of role players who cannot. The Heat meanwhile have three scorers and role players who can hit a jump shot. Oh and a swarming defense that makes it seem like the Heat have an extra defender.
Six players scored in double figures for the Heat as LeBron James took the 2012 NBA Finals MVP with an almost unprecedented playoff run capped off by a triple-double in the final game. In 23 playoff games, LeBron averaged 30.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. Fueled by the memory of last seasons collapse in the finals against Dallas, the Heat simply refused to go back to Oklahoma for a game six or potentially seven and led by 24 points entering the fourth quarter.
Some hunchbacked, limping creature with “Miller” on it’s jersey hit seven three-pointers and then hopefully got on a Hoveround and wheeled into possible retirement. 2006 NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade had an efficient game with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and just one turnover. He gets to celebrate his second championship with his longtime friend and our hometown hero Udonis Haslem. Chris Bosh aka the Bostrich aka Denver the last Dinosaur scored 24 points on 9-15 shooting to go with 2 blocks and a big three-pointer despite having dinosaur arms. Toronto was the perfect team for him because he looks like an actual Velociraptor or some sort of Basilisk. Chris Bosh is a dinosaur. Okay okay that is enough. Miami is glad to have him and this weather is perfect for his…type.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 32 points while Kendrick Perkins led the game in people who look like Roger, the bully from Doug. Russell Westbrook, who looks like a toad…toad-alled 19 points on a horrid 4 for 20 shooting night. James Harden and his beard finished their sub-par series with 19 points as well but it hardly mattered. LeBron was everywhere from the opening tip, starting the scoring on a soaring fast break dunk that put to rest any health questions after he limped through the final minutes of game 4 with leg cramps.
The young Thunder lost to an NBA juggernaut that played both ends of the floor like a boss. Miami made 52% of their shots while holding the Thunder to 41%. Oklahoma City’s best four players are all 23 years old or younger, they will figure it out how to win as the team finds its identity and Scott Brooks evolves as a coach. Meanwhile, the Heat have been playing the same brand of tough, defensive basketball for almost 20 years under Pat Riley, Stan Van Gundy, Ron Rothstein and current head coach Erik Spoelstra. Miami put on a clinic on both sides of the ball. Take notes Thunder.
Whether it was Shane Battier’s two 17 point games, Chris Bosh coming up with big defensive plays, Mike Miller’s already legendary 7 out of 8 three-point shooting performance in Thursday’s championship game, Dwyane Wade’s gutsy series or Mario “Motherfucking” Chalmers scoring 25 in game 4, somebody always came up big. Rookie Norris Cole came up big for the Heat and for fashion in game 4 as he brought back his 90′s high-top fade and sparked the Heat toward a big comeback with his shooting and energy. The Fresh Prince of Miami has arrived.
LeBron James had a playoff run that will go down as one of the best in history. The numbers do not even begin to tell it. He barreled down the lane to finish layups and dunks with either hand. He hit his jump shots, then found open teammates for theirs. He shut down the opposing team’s stars in crunch time, defending everyone from point guards to centers. His post-up game was unguardable. He made his teammates better. His dismantling of the Boston Celtics in game 6 of the conference finals will not soon be forgotten. He deferred to Dwyane Wade when necessary, but it was not often necessary. Not when you are 6’8″, 250 pounds and seemingly composed of Kevlar mixed with mithril mixed with spider web. Not when you are the best basketball player in the world.
Some quick notes:
—Miami became the first team to win the title after trailing in three different playoff series (Indiana, Boston, Oklahoma City).
—Miami became the third team to sweep the middle three games at home in the 2-3-2 finals format joining Detroit vs L.A. in 2004 and the Heat team of 2006 vs Dallas.
—Michael Jordan was 28 when he won his first NBA title. James is 27. (Wade was 24)
—Mario Chalmers became one of the only players to have won high school, college, and NBA championships.
—LeBron James is now one of three players, along with Charles Barkley (1993), and Larry Bird (1987) to have over 600 points, 200 rebounds and 100 assists in a postseason.
—If Mike Miller does retire, he leaves $18 million on the table. Just sayin’.